LawProse Lesson #404 Seeing the Forest

LawProse Lesson #404 Seeing the Forest

One common problem that legal writers have is plunging into sections of a project before developing a good sense of the whole. Imagine building parts of a house before having an architectural plan.

A superb technique for team writing projects is to have every member individually prepare point headings—full-sentence propositions. These team members must be immersed in the subject. They must have a sense of what ideas the team needs to advance. Have a strict deadline. Then have the team leader—who must also have done a propositional outline—amalgamate the drafts into a single version, cherry-picking the best of everyone’s work.

If you’re working alone, try this project solo. Do a set of point headings in the morning, and then work on other things. In the evening, do the point headings afresh, without looking at your morning’s work. Try stretching your effort, not just replicating your earlier work. Then look at both versions and merge them into your ideal version.

If you follow this protocol, you’ll have a plan. And as Boone Pickens liked to say, a simpleton with a plan can defeat a genius without one.

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