When it comes to writing, professionally or academically spellchecking your grammar is not negotiable. The words must be correctly spelled, and your sentences have to make sense. With regards to the legal profession, it is that much more important. The legal documents lawyers and legislators write are read aloud in court, presented to authoritative figures in the law industry. Even when presented to a peer, it is important, to not only look right but sound right. Your presentation reflects you as a legal officer, and hence your work must be up to par and this is one step.
Most legal documents need to be clear and straight to the point. You cannot say what you mean by being redundant and repetitive. A concise statement is appealing and fundamental because with all legal matters. Time is of the essence. Keep your writing statement short and sweet. Let it be legible and easily understandable.
The format for legal writing varies depending on the agency or court where it is being presented to. When writing s legal document, do not make assumptions. Follow the required format to the letter with the appropriate content. Follow the spacing, font and margin format that is required by other legislators.
Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the topic at hand. For one, you can read samples of the legal document you are to write to avoid mistakes and implement the correct format and language on your document. It also does not hurt to ask for help. If you have been an in-house counsel for a firm, the court may be a new area for you. Seek the advice of a practiced colleague who is aware of the processes and legal writing while preparing for court.
This will save you time doing research and embarrassment should you proceed to serve legal documents written poorly.
Know your audience
Knowing your audience is essential before you even start writing. It dictates the kind of language you will use, the format you will take and the structure of your document.
Contracts need titles and subtitles. Numbering needs to be put in place at various sections. An internal office memo does not need clarification for other legislators to understand, but a letter crafted for a client or witness unaware of certain legal phrases needs proper explanations in brief for better understanding.
Keep this in mind every time before you start writing. It will serve as a directive for your legal writing technique.
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The point of every letter is to have a purpose. The purpose also dictates the structure and the language of your documents.
Pleas are meant to persuade the court at large and the judge to rule in your favor. Such as granting your client bail, the arrest warrant of an accused party or a lighter sentence among others. Therefore, the language will be used to persuade and convince the other parties of your side of the story and perceive you favorably.
The other forms of writing like motions also use legal writing techniques and, they are procedural in nature and they seek the court’s attention to address a procedural issue in the matter at court. This can be something like to request for a grant summary judgment. In part because of the important role a lawyer plays when it comes to a court case and the fact that some are publicized it is essential to get things right.
To have the right language for the presentation and argument that you are preparing to make before the court and your legal seniors and peers. An impression is everything. Facts based on the law win you the case. It is important to make correct references and citations. To become a better legal writer, avoid passive voice which makes sentences longer. Since it is in the past tenses, it is harder to focus on the actor’s performance.