Tips To Improve Legal Writing
The California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA) accepted its first class of students in 2012, focusing on a more logical, practical approach to legal education in the 21st Century. This focus emphasizes the same extensive educational platform as traditional law schools while considering the traditional deficiencies of today’s law school graduates. At CDTA, not only do we educate students, but we also train and develop them to be exceptional trial advocates. Attorney-advocates must not only have the oral skills to represent clients in the courtroom, but they must possess the necessary writing skills as well.
Lawyers are often judged professionally on interpersonal skills and writing. Although the requirements of writing assignments will vary depending on a firm, supervisor, and clients, the following are some useful tips that may improve an attorney’s writing:
- Understand the client’s problem. Lawyers must be adequately briefed, which is partly their responsibility.
- Don’t solely use computer research. Combine book research with computer research. Look at indexes, digests, and treatises to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.
- Never turn in a preliminary version of a work in progress.
- Summarize conclusions at the beginning. Whether writing a research memo, opinion letter, or brief, an up-front summary consisting of three components is necessary: the principal question(s), the answer(s) to these question(s), and the underlying reason(s). This beginning summary should never start with a long statement of facts.
- Make a summary understandable to laypersons. It must be a summary that any reader can understand.
- Conclusions should neither be tentative nor cocksure but some best thought/guess about how a court will decide an issue.
- Strike the right professional tone.
- Master the approved citation form.
- Cut every unnecessary sentence, and then cut every unnecessary word.
- Proofread one more time than necessary.
A primary focus of the California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA) is the inclusion of all students in every phase and aspect of our learning platform and social environment. The competitiveness of law school can have a negative effect on some students, but some see it as survival of the fittest. The CDTA prefers to look at every interaction between students as a positive learning opportunity for all students. The CDTA College of Law trains, educates, and develops students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.