Let’s say an undergraduate professor once assigned you to write a critical report on a recently published book. You were expected to read it closely and to consult additional sources, such as related publications and book reviews. Your professor made several assumptions about your capabilities:
- that you could read and understand college-level materials;
- that you could synthesize separate items related to different aspects of the overall subject;
- that you could respond intelligently to all these materials.
These assumptions underlay essentially all your college writing assignments.
Now, in law, you’re using the same skills. Although the subjects are different, the abilities needed are identical. You must be able to locate, read, and comprehend legal materials. You must be able to perceive the relationships among these materials. And you must apply your own critical judgments throughout. If you’re a litigator, judges depend on you to have mastered these skills.
So the writing techniques you practiced (or maybe didn’t) as an undergraduate form the bedrock of your law practice. That background is also your bridge into every other realm of human inquiry. The stronger your skills, the sturdier the bridge. It’s how you become adept at perceiving relationships among diverse topics, both as a researcher and as a presenter. The better you are at perceiving and parsing such relationships, the more persuasive your arguments will be.
Surely you know that it’s never too late to hone these skills well beyond where they currently sit.