LawProse Lesson #411: What professors and judges have in common?

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.

Live seminars this year with Professor Bryan A. Garner: Advanced Legal Writing & Editing

Attend the most popular CLE seminar of all time. More than 215,000 people—including lawyers, judges, law clerks, and paralegals—have benefited since the early 1990s. You'll learn the keys to professional writing and acquire no-nonsense techniques to make your letters, memos, and briefs more powerful.

You'll also learn what doesn't work and why—know-how gathered through Professor Garner's unique experience in training lawyers at the country's top law firms, state and federal courts, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies.

Professor Garner gives you the keys to make the most of your writing aptitude—in letters, memos, briefs, and more. The seminar covers five essential skills for persuasive writing:

  • framing issues that arrest the readers' attention;
  • cutting wordiness that wastes readers' time;
  • using transitions deftly to make your argument flow;
  • quoting authority more effectively; and
  • tackling your writing projects more efficiently.

He teaches dozens of techniques that make a big difference. Most important, he shows you what doesn't work—and why—and how to cultivate skillfulness.

Register to reserve your spot today.

Have you wanted to bring Professor Garner to teach your group? Contact us at info@lawprose.org for more information about in-house seminars.

Scroll to Top