You want to write well in law? Not just to write—which any lawyer can do—but to write well. The distinction between writing and writing well is the difference between shooting baskets in your driveway and high-level competitive basketball, between humming tunes and virtuoso vocal performances, between duffers’ rounds of golf and tournament victories.
There’s no mystery about how to write effective letters, motions, briefs, and contracts. But if you’re to succeed, you must start not with dreams, wishes, and half-truths, but with a solid foundation. If you care to, you can acquire it in any phase of your career.
Your objective is to create prose that produces certain effects: the practical legal results you seek on behalf of a client. You don’t think about yourself but instead about your intended readers. What are they like? They’re monstrously busy, so you must deliver your message with great efficiency. They’re tired of all the other legal writing that’s so predictably tedious, abstract, and turgid. You must know how to sound fresh. They’re inclined to be skeptical, so you must support sound ideas with concrete facts and avoid verbose woolgathering.
You must show your reader, from the very start, that you’re comfortable handling words and ideas—that you’ll be a good companion throughout the reading. Your competitors at the bar generally don’t do this: instead, they parrot what everyone else does, as if the goal were to sound like a dry-as-dust formbook.
If you want to acquire the skill of writing well—nobody’s born with it—we can show you how.