This article on ‘Importance of Legal Writing for Law Students‘ was written by Anam Sheikh, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Specialized textual communication is required in many legal contexts. In many cases, a lawyer must analyze a situation and try to persuade others in their client’s favor through written communication. Any legal document must be concise, understandable, and comply with the impartial standards developed within the legal profession.
Legal Writing is arguably the most significant class in law school. Because a lawyer communicates mostly through written communication, this is the case. Even the most talented lawyer will struggle to succeed in the legal field if their writing abilities fall short of their capacity to efficiently read, study, analyze, and reason about the law and the case’s facts.
Common Issues Regarding Legal Writing
- Use of excessive words
- Lack of clarity and focus
- Failing to recognize the problems
- Subpar grammar
- A general absence of structure and organization
Legal Writing And Students
Legal writing typically falls into one of two categories. The first category necessitates a fair evaluation of a legal issue or problem. Inter-office memos and client letters are examples of the first kind. The lawyer must be sensitive to the needs, degree of interest, and background of the persons to whom it is written to be effective in this type of writing. Definitions of fundamental legal terms in a memo to a partner in the same firm would be inefficient and annoying. Their omission from a letter to a client who lacks a legal background, however, could confound and complicate a straightforward case.
Persuasive legal writing is the second type. Appellate briefs and negotiation letters written on behalf of a client are examples of this type. The lawyer must persuade his or her audience without inciting a hostile response by being disrespectful or by wasting the recipient’s time with irrelevant information. He or she must follow the required document style when presenting documents to a court or administrative agency.
It is the lawyer’s responsibility to communicate his arguments in a clear, concise manner to the client, opposing counsel, judges, and jury (as applicable in certain legal systems). Legal research and drafting are essential components of a successful legal career.
Legal Writing for the Real World: A Practical Guide to Success, the art of writing efficiently and effectively is probably the most important skill we can develop throughout our careers. Writing is important in the professional world because our ability to write convincingly and persuade a court of learned men is critical and is based on how we articulate ideas and structure arguments.
What Characterized a Well-written Legal Document?
We typically view a well-written paper as achieving the writer’s original goal. While this improves the effectiveness of the paper, it does not guarantee that it is well-written. A paper, on the other hand, can be well-written even if it serves no use for the writer. For example, even if the plaint is well-written, if the legal reasons are poor, it will not persuade the court.
Effective legal writing considers the reader’s demands and interests. As The first step for a lawyer is to establish his or her target audience.
Clarity is critical
Legal writing requires clarity. The clarity in writing necessitates proper grammar and punctuation. Using common vocabulary and basic phrase patterns, sometimes known as plain language, is another technique to increase intelligibility.
Concision is an important trait in legal writing. Concise doesn’t only mean short; it also signifies effective. Concise writing communicates the writer’s views without utilizing extraneous words and with adequate information. Concise writing is as straightforward as feasible while providing as much information as possible.
Activate Your Reader
Good writing also keeps the reader’s interest. It invites the reader to participate with the information by agreeing, disagreeing, and coming up with their thoughts, among other things. In other words, it makes the reader think. This is the distinction between genuinely good legal writing and competent legal writing.”Regardless of how sound your reasoning is, if it is presented in a dull and turgid manner, your hearers—or readers—will turn away.” They will not stop talking. They will flip through the pages. They will sit up and take notice if it is presented in a lively and appealing setting. They will listen as if enchanted. They will read you with interest.”
The most fundamental rule of legal writing is to start with your major point. The goal of legal writing is not to create suspense. Typically, someone seeks a response from a lawyer and expects it immediately. They don’t want to go through a jumbled mess of data to find the solution. Provide accurate and correct information in a clear, thorough, and succinct manner. Remove irrelevant remarks that only serve to draw attention away from what is vital. When considering how much detail is essential to make yourself known, keep your audience in mind. It can be beneficial to remind yourself that you are seeking to counsel or persuade, rather than compose a work of fiction or poetry.
“Verba volant, Scripta manent” which means spoken words fly away, written words remain!
We frequently underestimate the power of examples. Every argument worth making deserves to be illustrated. By following these guidelines, one can ensure that any legal documents created by him/her are well-written and effective. As with any ability, practice makes perfect, therefore I encourage you all to actively engage in legal writing and drafting, or, in other words, storytelling
Although they might occasionally clash, clarity and engagement are two crucial components of successful legal writing. When they do, the professional legal writer must find a good middle ground between them. Law students must learn these and many other skills to be effective legal practitioners. As attorneys, our words carry the weight of the case and the fate of our clients, and to provide justice to our clients as well as our profession, we must recognize the significance of legalese.