“Writing serves the reader, not the writer. It isn’t indulgent. “The reader doesn’t turn the page because of a hunger to applaud,” Don Murray Good.
During my last internship, I was asked to write a legal document addressing the problem faced by a client. I’ve got written it but was horrified to read it. Then one of my seniors contains an enormous speech to me and shared the technicalities of legal writing with me. I’ve got tried to share what I accustomed to be taught during this communication.
The actual fact is undisputed that writing is an art. It is a never-ending learning process and will continue challenging the law profession. Law may be a profession of words. It’s a common reality that a law profession needs an enhanced writing skill in you so; one must practice refining one’s basic grammar for the betterment of their legal writing documents. It’s imperative that every lawyer must have knowledge of the fundamental surrounding effective and articulate legal writing.
The grammar courses shall provide you with certain techniques that you just simply can use so on hoisting your writing to new heights, sort of thanks to eliminating legalese, spot writing errors that cause inefficiency, and avoid ambiguities which will cause complications. It’s said that the mark of a true lawyer is no one knows how to talk well, but one who knows the simplest way to jot down well and thus the possession of fine draftsmanship skills could also be an excellent boost to the private repute of a lawyer.
What is good legal writing?
Good legal writing should be clear, concise, engaging, and chic. The target of the legal documents should be to simplify the particular fact and display a sound knowledge of legal principles, legal reasoning, and methods of the case to clear the concept to the reader. For a lawyer, it’s equally important to defeat their opponent with written words like spoken words and arguments that win cases.
“We start with a spot phrase before the Court saying “May it please your Lordship” so halt a second, as if unless the Honorable Judge says, “Thank You” (as they need to and as a minimum of 1 Honorable Judge in many like others experience accustomed to say) we would simply insert punctuation in every single sentence with a “My Lord”, or will favor being in an exceedingly silent mode. After the case is resolved, if it goes in our client “Much obliged to your Lordship” or “Grateful to your Lordship” and if it goes against us, “As your Lordship please” or “So be it, My Lord”.
Sometimes, a case is often delayed over several days, with plenty of sometime in between. it is not always possible for the Honorable Judge to concentrate on the case to remember each and everything. So legal writing at that point in time becomes a matter of crucial importance. Impactful legal writing forms a strong substructure for an impactful communication and is an important ability demanded today to maneuver ahead within the community. Most often cognizance, uneasiness, propensity, and tendency while to use legal jargon, legal dialect, and legalese while writing a legal document.
The legal writers used to believe that to specific one’s views more precisely these words are generally considered as necessary to be used in legal document writing. To spice up the quality and skill of legal documentary writing it’s not always the cases, and also the more use of the legal technical terms, but truly, its uncomplicated language and structured sentences.
Richard Wydick, states in his book Plain English for Lawyers that ―“Good legal writing in plain English” A well-written introduction is that the reflection of a well-written instrument.
The paragraph which will create an aura that the first impression is that the simplest impression is the Introduction paragraph. The author should know at the start whether he’s writing to specific or impress. The writing made for the aim of impressing is laden with heavy words, legal jargon, verbiage, and is complex. The author who is writing to specific should be clear and simple. Writers time and again circumvent using the words monotonously and like bringing contrast of the identical words at different places. However, thus avoiding the employment of the repetitive words and using synonyms at various places can create ambiguity and so the meaning of the documents can prove its head and leave the reader confused about what is the writer’s perception. Variety of the importance of repetition of words is as follows:
- Gesticulation to the reader that concepts renamed are to be focused
- It provides emphasis
- Consistency prevents confusion
- The reader won’t ask “is that writer addressing the identical topic?”
- It waves the weather of the varied paragraph together.
Things to keep in mind
However, this is believed that the author shouldn’t overemphasize repetition which might irritate the reader and would affect the conciseness of the legal document and can make the document less fetching. Hence, equipoise must be maintained by the author between using repetition of words and overdoing such repetition.
It’s an enormous myth that as a grown-up professional, we are able to omit rules of English grammar treating them as something meant for the people engaged in English literature writing. The basic rules for grammar like an appropriate use of tense, proper use of verbs, proper arrangement of words, etc. make our writing relevant and effective through advanced rules of English grammar won’t be entirely relevant to us. Any carelessness of basic grammar rules would only manifest the readers’ turning experience a nightmare and will sometimes cause a tragic response. Prefer the active to the passive. Sentences that have verbs within the passive have three characteristics: there’s the requirement of more words. The directness of using the active is avoided.
They disguise the actor or doer of the action. Use parallel phrasing for parallel ideas. Parallelism is that employment of matching structure, phrases, or longer parts so in spite of everything ideas of equal importance (“government of the people, by the people, and for the people”), or rhythmic or cadence stress (“ask not what your nation can do for you, but ask what you’ll do for your nation”). It’s one of the utmost acknowledge tools of writing.
Thus, I am thankful to my seniors for imparting their knowledge to me about how good legal writing helps to win your arguments and communicate your ideas better. In the end, practice makes one perfect. So keep writing and keep discovering yourself.
Khushboo Agarwal | Campus Ambassador