The Five Biggest Legal Writing Gaffes and How to Avoid Them
May 20, 2015
Michael W. Stocker shares some tips on effective legal writing
Partner Michael Stocker recently shared several tips for attorneys when it comes to legal writing. They include:
- "Don't drink your own Kool-Aid." The most persuasive briefs or motions are written after lawyers recognize the limitations of their cases.
- "If [friends or colleagues] don't understand the point you're making, a clerk or judge dealing with 15 other matters at the same time probably won't either." Ask someone unfamiliar with the case/subject to review your work.
- "Make your strongest point clearly and concisely very early in the brief. If you wait to make that argument after three pages of background, you've likely already lost your reader."
- "Understand the difference between aggressive writing and persuasive writing…You want to carry your readers, not march them at gunpoint. While it can feel good to slip zingers and sarcastic asides into a brief, those kinds of remarks do nothing to move the ball with the court, and may even hurt your credibility."