What is your best legal-writing tip?

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california9
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What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby california9 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:02 am

What was your ah-ha! moment in legal writing
a good nugget of advice that helped you along


Post it here, i know i could use some help, and i'm sure there are others out there like me.



I don't really have one because I suck at legal writing!

Please indulge the audience.

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Arrow
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby Arrow » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:43 am

The one "ah-ha" that made a difference for me was 1) spamming transition words, and 2) using simplest English I can think of. It really took my B- to an A+/top grade on that memo (between my 2 memo grades). Yes that is two things I know.

I'm still screwed for brief writing. *Sigh*. For me though, I sucked at English skills, but I realized the key to good writing (for my professor, maybe not yours) was simple English, which made it totally doable even though I was an engineer.

For the analysis, it is the same as exam writing, so if you get that, you'll do well on memo analysis portion, which came naturally for me.

upgrade
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby upgrade » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:37 am

Start early and spend an appropriate amount of time based on the number of credit hours the class is worth. I know a lot of people who slaved over their memo to the detriment of their other grades.

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TTT-LS
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby TTT-LS » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:03 am

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TTT-LS
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby TTT-LS » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:04 am

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

00TREX00
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby 00TREX00 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:18 pm

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Last edited by 00TREX00 on Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Darth Topher
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby Darth Topher » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:22 pm

cool thread

helvidius2010
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby helvidius2010 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:53 am

Get a manual on usage and style. Read it. Use it.

Icy
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby Icy » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:40 am

Don't attempt to edit your work immediately after slaving on it for hours - always review with fresh eyes.

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TTT-LS
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby TTT-LS » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:46 am

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cannoneer
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby cannoneer » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:22 am

Congrats on finishing, sounds like an accomplishment!

Tip on legal writing: eliminate fluff. Since humanities profs often assign papers with page counts, I think a lot of people develop bad writing habits in college. It doesn't help that half the stuff you read is by windbags.

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TTT-LS
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby TTT-LS » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:03 am

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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neskerdoo
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby neskerdoo » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:06 am

TTT-LS wrote:Don't use the word "impact" as a verb. While it *might* be acceptable to many at this point, there are still some lawyers who really hate seeing it used in this manner. If they see it in your writing sample, they will not be pleased. Thankfully, I do not speak from experience on this last point...



not even third party experience?

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TTT-LS
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby TTT-LS » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:34 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JMC
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby JMC » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:38 pm

helvidius2010 wrote:Get a manual on usage and style. Read it. Use it.


Do you recommend Garner? Someone else?

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Arrow
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby Arrow » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:23 pm

I have looked through several (more like 7-8) books on Legal Writing since my first memo was subpar compared to my other grades. Generally that book ELements of STyle or Plain English for Lawyers was good. All the memo books generally said the same things. THey all taught how proper format, grammer, and such and none of them really stood out. Good grammer is roughly the same everywhere (is the message I got), so just pick up a book read it and just follow its instructions. Many of them have practice problems so that may help too.

adam.brown
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby adam.brown » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:51 pm

Don't try to sound smart with flowery language. If your analysis is well-written, then it will be self-evident.

mathec1
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby mathec1 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:54 pm

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Last edited by mathec1 on Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ggocat
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby ggocat » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:04 pm

I don't think there are "ah-ha" moments for legal writing, at least not in my experience. I am never comfortable with something I write. I always want to edit more, but at some point you must end and turn it in.

It's important to do everything your prof says. Do plenty of research and make sure your prof knows you did the research. Use explanatory parentheticals effectively, but only if your prof likes explanatory parentheticals. Minimize quotations. Paraphrase, and put a persuasive spin on your paraphrasing. Don't overlook your citations - make them perfect. These will be how your prof separates A+/A papers from A-/B+ papers (probably; that's what one prof told me).

FWIW, I had an above-curve grade (although not by much) in memo writing and second highest grade in brief writing. So maybe my advice is not good for memo writing. I dunno. Legal writing is pretty subjective. Most memos/briefs will be pretty good. IMO, it's difficult to separate the great from good and the good from above-average. I am a citations snob anyway, but IRL nobody cites perfectly (the Bluebook changes over time, and most lawyers are static with citation method).

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Curious George
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby Curious George » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:47 am

For me:

This...

Arrow wrote:The one "ah-ha" that made a difference for me was 1) spamming transition words, and 2) using simplest English I can think of. It really took my B- to an A+/top grade on that memo (between my 2 memo grades). Yes that is two things I know.

I'm still screwed for brief writing. *Sigh*. For me though, I sucked at English skills, but I realized the key to good writing (for my professor, maybe not yours) was simple English, which made it totally doable even though I was an engineer.

For the analysis, it is the same as exam writing, so if you get that, you'll do well on memo analysis portion, which came naturally for me.


and this:

cannoneer wrote:Congrats on finishing, sounds like an accomplishment!

Tip on legal writing: eliminate fluff. Since humanities profs often assign papers with page counts, I think a lot of people develop bad writing habits in college. It doesn't help that half the stuff you read is by windbags.

littleboyblue
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby littleboyblue » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:06 pm

what do you mean by "spamming transition words"?

cannoneer
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby cannoneer » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:07 pm

^^^^^ Don't start discussing a different case, concept, argument, etc. without preparing the reader for where you're going is the general idea, I think.

2009 Prospective
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby 2009 Prospective » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:14 pm

Tagged for later review

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Arrow
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby Arrow » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:23 pm

Transition words include: here, hereafter, thereafter, further, furthermore, moreover, in addition to, next, first, second, then, etc.

Basically it means using a lot of these words. Note, this might have been a personal quirk of my professor, but she says it makes writing clearer and easier to follow.

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california9
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Re: What is your best legal-writing tip?

Postby california9 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:28 pm

excellent tips

any more?




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