The Lawyer's Solution to Holiday Gift Giving: Handwriting Thank Yous
Posted on 12-14-2016 by Lauren Stemley

What should you do when your client sends you a Christmas gift, card, or letter? Don’t fret – the easiest and most impactful response is to send a simple thank you letter! Don’t just type it out though – handwrite it! Here are some good reasons why: Personable Touch! By... Read More

Storytelling for Lawyers: 3 Ways to Create Engaging Legal Writing
Posted on 12-12-2016 by Lauren Stemley

What do Christmas, legal writing and nonfiction have in common? More than you think! Legal writing pairs perfectly with the creative styles of telling a story. Bryan Garner , a lawyer who pioneered the idea, says to let the facts show why your client is right – to tell his/her story –... Read More

Summer associates identify writing and legal research skills required on the job
Posted on 11-22-2016 by Lextalk Admin

Summary Greater emphasis is being placed on practical skills in legal education as schools acknowledge that it is crucial for law students to develop strong research and writing skills to succeed in practice. This need becomes quickly apparent once a student lands that first summer associate position... Read More

Superior legal writing’s damn hardest discipline …. walking away
Posted on 04-29-2016 by Travis Burchart

Long ago, I wrote legal briefs for a solo practitioner. My typical process: vomit the law on paper, shuttle it to my boss, scribble down his edits. This haphazard speed was commanded by our deadlines and client demands … i.e., crunch time demanded rapid output. But what’s good for output... Read More

Art of the analogy: 4-minute lesson featuring baseball & the late Justice Scalia
Posted on 03-18-2016 by Travis Burchart

The power of analogies lies in comparing two things for the purpose of persuasion. Part of this power erupts from the triggering of emotions, which affects decision making . Hence, the emotional power of analogies in arguments. Sigmund Freud, while a little soft on their power, said this about the emotional... Read More

The legal blog strategy that everyone’s afraid to preach: Write less!
Posted on 02-25-2016 by Travis Burchart

“Write less” … terrible advice for a writer, right? Stephen King thinks so. He once said: If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot . Great advice for a novelist but not necessarily for a legal blogger. Before we go any... Read More

Toughen your legal writing with a poetry lesson
Posted on 02-12-2016 by Travis Burchart

Are you too lawyerly to wield a little poetry? If so, you’re neglecting a legal writing weapon. Even the Supreme Court understands the persuasive strike of verse. In Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm , 514 U.S. 211 (U.S. 1995), the majority said: Separation of powers, a distinctively American political... Read More

What NFL “rules guru” Bill Belichick can teach you about legal writing
Posted on 01-29-2016 by Travis Burchart

Writing, E. B. White said, is an “act of faith, not a trick of grammar.” The same might be said for football, that playing is an act of faith, not a trick of the rules. Coaches often preach this, that winning depends on heart and ability – what’s “inside.” It’s... Read More

“Verbalizing” Nouns: A Dangerous Business #WritingLegally
Posted on 01-12-2016 by amanda-alge-bales

The suffix “–ize” is on the loose, verbalizing and uglyizing our language. Some people think you can tack “–ize” onto any noun and create a verb; however, many nouns have no business being used as verbs. Verbalizing nouns is a dangerous business with the result... Read More

Netflix’s “Making a Murderer”: 3 storytelling lessons (or warnings)
Posted on 01-08-2016 by Travis Burchart

I’ve heard storytelling likened to the Trojan Horse; a construction that sneaks information past your defenses. I think that’s what happened when I watched Netflix’s documentary Making a Murderer . I say “think” because it’s hard to believe that I missed a giant wooden... Read More

How to address a colleague’s horrible writing: 10 Tips
Posted on 12-23-2015 by amanda-alge-bales

At what point would you feel it is necessary to have a sit down with an attorney you supervise and let him (or her) know their writing is sometimes careless, and lacks legal research and analysis? If you are unsure, try taking these three additional factors into consideration: An older attorney... Read More

Dead On Arrival? Is the written letter really dead?
Posted on 12-07-2015 by amanda-alge-bales

The written letter –a form of communication that once was exchanged as regularly as email. These letters carried countless numbers of things from professions of love to permanent news. Letters would allow recipients time to reflect and analyze the contents before crafting a response. The sad... Read More

Composing an RFP? 3 Things to Avoid
Posted on 11-30-2015 by amanda-alge-bales

The article below has been republished in full courtesy of Law360, written by Kelly Knaub Competition between law firms vying for new work can be intense, and attorneys responding to requests for proposals may be tempted to do everything in their power to dazzle the corporations seeking outside legal... Read More

9 Writing Styles Epitomized by Current SCOTUS Justices [Infographic] #writinglegally
Posted on 10-16-2015 by amanda-alge-bales

“Language is the central tool of our trade…” ~ Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. And as Chief Justice Roberts once said, "words are the building blocks of the law. If we aren’t fastidious with language it dilutes the effectiveness and clarity of the law." For those... Read More

Is your brief writing clean of these 15 annoying grammatical mistakes #writinglegally
Posted on 04-08-2015 by Christina Alge

Grammar, the one aspect of English I had trouble with in elementary school , but over time and thanks to great English teachers, it was engrained in me. Not all of us are good at grammar and according to Business Insider , here are 15 mistakes we all may have seen at some point: 1. Using "it's"... Read More

Coherently Reporting Research in Emails #writinglegally
Posted on 04-02-2015 by Jamie Baker

Garner's On Words series in the ABA Journal is very useful. Each month, he offers great tips for better legal writing. Garner's September 2014 post discusses coherently reporting research in emails. As noted, "[i]n the rushed exigency of modern law practice, with the expectation of nearly... Read More

Structure In Scholarly Writing #WritingLegally
Posted on 03-24-2015 by Jamie Baker

After years of teaching scholarly writing - specifically for law reviews - I have come to the conclusion that structure is often the biggest hurdle for students (and authors, in general) when it comes to writing lengthy articles. In class, we discuss outlining and organizing early so that the students... Read More

Destroy your credibility with this punctuation habit [Infographic] #writinglegally
Posted on 03-11-2015 by amanda-alge-bales

Writing isn’t an easy job. Especially when you really want to spark people’s interest, and garner some real excitement about the topic at hand. And, with so little space to communicate your message in the social sphere, you may rely on punctuation to help communicate your message to the masses... Read More

Spider-Man & the Kool-Aid Man™ Teach You 2 Lessons on Legal Blogging #WritingLegally
Posted on 03-02-2015 by Travis Burchart

My daughter dreams of being 3 things when she grows up: cheerleader magician Spider-Man She’s 51% tomboy so Spider-Man doesn't surprise me. To get the Spider-Man-thing rolling, I climbed into my attic, choked on the dust, and found a yellowing box stuffed with comic books. I dug... Read More

What Transactional Lawyers Can Learn From Novelists #WritingLegally
Posted on 02-18-2015 by amanda-alge-bales

The article below has been republished in full courtesy of Law360, written by Michael H. Rubin. Transactional lawyers spend their days negotiating deals and then documenting them in lengthy contracts that cover not only all aspects of the transaction, but also every anticipated contingency. Novelists... Read More

Writing an intro to your legal brief: 5 Tips #writinglegally
Posted on 02-04-2015 by Tracie Morris

For 1Ls who are attempting to write their open memo or legal brief, these 5 tips may help when writing an intro, courtesy of JDSupra . Check out these 5 tips to writing an introduction to a legal brief. 1. In Plain Language, Get To The Essence How you would explain why you should win to someone who... Read More

How bad typography breeds bad laws #writinglegally
Posted on 10-20-2014 by Chad Troyan

Photo Credit: Murat Baysan / Say you join the bandwagon and buy yourself the new iPhone 6. Imagine your excitement when you rip the packing open and hook it up to your computer and begin setting it up. You’re flying through initial setup stuff when “WHAM!” you’re... Read More

What Your Font Style Says About Your Appellate Brief [Infographic] #writinglegally
Posted on 09-09-2014 by Chad Troyan

While lawyers write a lot of documents, they don’t often consider the style of font of the characters (letters and numbers) used to produce the document. Yet fonts (and other typography matters) are important. No lawyer would consider using the same type of script font that may be found on a wedding... Read More

Law Students: How to Read a Legal Opinion
Posted on 08-28-2014 by Christina Alge

As law students head back to school, I thought it would be relevant to post a link to Orin Kerr's short short essay “How to Read A Legal Opinion: A Guide for New Law Students .” This essay is designed to help new law students prepare for the first few weeks of class. It outlines and explains... Read More

10 Common Writing Mistakes You Are Probably Making [Infographic] #writinglegally
Posted on 08-25-2014 by Travis Burchart

Writing is everywhere! From emails, to text messages to social messaging boards to your kids’ homework, everyone has something to say, and more than before standard writing rules have been thrown out of the window in lieu of easy, conversational words. But what happens when your personal writing... Read More