This article on ‘How to Write a Good Legal Article: A Guide for Law Students‘ was written by Shruti Korgaonkar, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
"The language of the law must not be foreign to the ears of those who are to obey it." -Learned Hand
Today, we will be understanding how to write good Legal Articles. Typically, when we begin to write a blog post or an article, we pick topics about which we are well-known and where we can add our own perspective. Writing an article is primarily intended to inform readers and provide a clear grasp of a subject; in a sense, to educate them.
In terms of legal writing, lawyers have to create a lot of articles. You likely have or will soon have to write an article (or several articles) in which you must summarise a case, make a point, clarify a topic, or write some other form of publication that will be included in the client resources of your company. These pieces typically take hours to produce. It is common to have to conduct research, read a lengthy case, comprehend and state the important points, create an article, solicit input, make necessary changes, polish the manuscript, and submit it for publication.
One cannot learn how to write or how not to write; it comes from within, from the thoughts and the topics one connects with. However, legal writing differs from other types of writing in that it must be accurate, factual, and supported by extensive research. Only those who are passionate about their subject matter can write; else, their work will be unremarkable and without much substance. Interpretation and well-versed writing skills are two things a law student should build to achieve proficiency in legal writing.
2- To understand how to write good Legal Articles, there are a few rules that must be kept in mind
2.1- Analyzing and Researching:
Research is the most important thing that most of us avoid while writing a legal article When they are assigned a topic, most people start by searching on Google. As soon as you do it, you make a blunder. The space for originality and creativity is reduced, the possibility of coming up with anything repetitive increases, and you allow yourself to be influenced if you begin your research by going online and reading what others have previously written before deciding what you are going to write.
There is a crucial step you must do before you begin your research on the internet, in books, or in any other way. That is how research questions are framed. The process of analyzing the topic and jotting down questions is important which can make your research process swift.
Just going on and on researching and not simultaneously writing can make things difficult and will create an end-moment pressure to write everything down. It could lessen the burden if one just researches for a few minutes and devote the same amount of time to jotting it down.
Always keep in mind your article is been viewed on the basis of its title, make sure that it is precise and make the audience read the whole piece on its basis. Why should someone read your article and not the others? The article’s headline should be significant, and alluring, but not overly so given that all proposals are discussed, significant, meaningful, and related to the material. Since the first impression is the last, try to make an impressive start since the quality of your item is also determined in the first paragraph.
2.3- Language to Connect:
Your target market is crucial: How smart do you consider them to be? How well-rounded is their knowledge of legal jargon? How well-versed are they in your field of expertise? When did they start reading publications in your field or fields that are linked to it?
Even if your work is devoted to specialized class of audience in the legal field, still usage of a language that could be understood by laymen is preferred. Your word choice reveals something about your level of education, but simplicity does not equate to stupidity. In actuality, simplicity is the art of conveying your ideas in the fewest feasible terms while retaining their original intent. Legal terminology can be difficult enough without having to use complex or unique terms that few people can actually grasp. People will become frustrated and even want to stop reading your article if you employ terminology that is too tough, just because they can’t figure out what you’re trying to express.
2.4- The Preferred Length:
The length of your article plays a crucial role in engaging the audience. To be less informative or too stuffed with information make your article lose its essence. Write according to the requirement of the audience, if you’re focusing on the general audience just the overview of the topic is preferable, but if your audience involves specialized professionals or students in the field of law an in-depth detailed article is required.
With the advancement of technology and the influence of social media the attention span of people is reducing day by day, Always keep in mind that your content needs to be engaging! Why would anyone bother reading them if not? Usually, you can do this by drawing on any feelings you may have about the situation or problem at hand. For instance, grief, anger, etc. Just be careful not to go overboard and bore even yourself.
2.5- Usage Of Tools:
To beautify your article and make it unique there are many tools available to improvise your grammar, avoid the usage of the same boring words, to reduce plagiarism just with a click you can improvise and level up your writing.
2.6- Use of Case Laws:
When writing a legal article, it is usually preferable to cite some relevant case law instances. Including case law always gives an article more authority. Making it too weighty is not what this means. Use a different set of cases, perhaps two or three, but not more. Case law gives the writer an advantage over other writers and aids the reader in understanding the scenario. Use case law only when necessary; don’t insert it into a piece of writing just for the purpose of doing so. It must be pertinent. Case citations must be made; there are various formats available, but journal citations are the most crucial.
The article must have a conclusion, which should be unambiguous. The entire article must be summarised and offer a counterargument or make a claim while also providing justification for it.
Beyond these fundamentals, research work is also crucial. One should begin their research by first visiting a library, either a public or a college library, where one can find books about the topic at hand. The author should then switch to a search engine. Database usage and search must be done correctly. The research needs to go from broad to narrow.
Concluding this specific article it can be said that writing a legal article cannot be taught, with preferred knowledge and practice one can profess the art of writing a legal article.
- Pritam Banik, 7 Quick Tips on How To Write A Legal Article, Strictly Legal, available at: https://strictlylegal.in/7-quick-tips-on-how-to-write-a-legal-article/
- Chris Hargreaves, 8 Requirements for Writing a Legal Article that will Get Read, Tips for lawyers, 30 March 2015, available at: https://tipsforlawyers.com/8-requirements-for-writing-legal-articles/
- Ramanuj Mukherjee, The biggest mistake you will make while writing a law article and how to avoid it, iPleaders Blog, 26 December 2018, available at: https://blog.ipleaders.in/the-biggest-mistake-you-will-make-while-writing-a-law-article-and-how-to-avoid-it/