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Legal Writing Guide: Why and How to Start with Your Conclusion

March 10th, 2017 Comments off

legal writing guideLegal writing is a very special genre. As an author you are significantly limited to certain structures, logic and unwritten rules. Although, even a very organized form of a memorandum can’t guarantee that your reader will get the message you are trying to get across. For solving such a problem it is worth to use a technique that leads the reader from the top of the article right to the end – starting with your conclusion. You must get used to the role of the “leader” while framing your writings.

“But why is starting with conclusion important?” – one may ask. Such a beginning helps your readers understand what you are going to talk about, the main matters and the structure of your memo in general. There is, actually, no unified structure of writing a memo and starting with conclusion, the point is that you shape the form according to a certain logic of storytelling. Without a doubt the main goal of writing a memorandum is to tell about all relevant facts concerning your case, so the structure generally depends on the case itself. Though, there are some tips that are worth to use that you will find further in our legal writing guide.

First of all – keep your readers attention. If you fail to draw the attention in the very beginning, the chance that the main body is going to be read carefully and intelligently is almost equal to zero:

  • To draw the attention, try to start with the background story, mention who are the parties and what is the nature of the issue. While telling the backstory, try to avoid lengthy sentences and complex constructions as they distracts the attention. Don’t write the facts there either.
  • After having mentioned some general information, move on to describing the issue. Here is the time to use some facts. Use them to make a concrete basis for further story of the case in the main body. In this part you can also make several questions which you are going to answers. The point is that this opening is going to reveal the answers. But again, avoid complex structures, state it clear and short.
  • One more useful tip, while framing the conclusion in the opening is the use simple language. As it was mentioned above, using complicated language forms is completely inappropriate. The beginning of your writing must be clean and straightforward without any unnecessary information.
  • You may even try saying your sentences out loud. Check if they sound plain enough. Fix all awkward sentences.
  • Write as you would speak to your colleague. That sort of semi-formal speech is just perfect for writing. It involves a lot of special vocabulary to convey all the nuances you are talking about but with plain grammar at the same time.

Remember that the opening is going to tell your reader what to look for later on. Place the strongest writings in the very first paragraphs to emphasize them properly.

4 Laws of Legal Writing Every Lawyer Should Know

December 9th, 2016 Comments off

legal-writing-rules
Legal language acts as a carrier of information and as means of influence on people. Lawyers draft the laws, conduct business correspondence, write interrogation protocols and other regulations, indictments, claims, judgments, treaties, agreements, applications and complaints due to the use of legal writing language. In legal writing practice we can encounter the texts where it is needed to stick to strict formal writing regulations (certificates, acts), but there are other text types that are written in a more free form. Below you may find four legal writing rules every lawyer should know.

1 Be Persuasive and Argumentative

Every legal writing should be presented in a persuasive way, so it must be not only a competent text, but also a reasoned and argumentative one. The main aim is to convince the reader or the listener. The written, information must be clear, as clarity of expression promotes the persuasion. For a lawyer the ability to speak eloquently and write literary quality papers is a must. Not depending on the communicative role, whether the lawyer is making the bills, carrying out the investigation, delivering a verdict, protecting the rights of the defendants, the main task of such a professional is to explain the rule of law to every citizen. Lawyers deal with a variety of life cases on a daily basis, they need to correctly assess situation, take right decision and convince those who addressed them in the correctness of their point of view. Below

2 Mind the Legal Writing Components

There are three legal writing components that are to be taken into consideration while compiling a legal writing text.

  • First, logic (data – analysis – conclusion), you need to follow the compliance with the laws of logic while presenting the material.
  • Second, objectiveness (scientific facts), argumentativeness and reasonableness, built on facts and special requirements for the selection of words that should provide understanding and clarity of the text.
  • Third component is generalization, standardization and consistency.

3 Use Plain Language

Everything in legal writing must be presented in the most clear, precise, simple and compact way. Therefore, speaking about legal language we often talk about the simplicity of style. Use of metaphors, idiomatic expressions and complex constructions are not appropriate. Legal writings, except for academic papers are written in an official-business style. Consequently, such papers have distinctive features, their “technique” is not typical or even acceptable for other stylistic genres.

4 Use the Right Terminology

There are three types of terms which can be used in legal writing: common, technical and legal. However, despite this diversity, terminology must be clear to the addressee and adequately reflect certain concepts. There are a lot of state expressions known as “legal formulae” in legal writing, such as: make a deal, in accordance with the law, provisions of this agreement, heir to the law, divorce, preventive measures. There are many other expressions of this type, they are easily remembered and are widely used in legal sphere.

Legal writing rules are very important for every lawyer, they are used in the course of investigation and during court hearings, in the course of negotiations and business meetings with the clients, it greatly contributes to mutual exchange of ideas and thoughts.