Whether you’re a novice legal writer needing sound advice or a veteran needing a refresher, these articles are worthwhile.
What’s the difference between a hyphen, an en-dash, and an em-dash? And when should each be used? Mary Norris, a.k.a. the Comma Queen, answers these questions.
A brief can help the judicial reader. Or it can be a big, stinking — well, Mark Herrman explains it better than I can.
Megan Boyd has a good post at Lady (Legal Writer) on the use of forms in legal writing. She does not ban them, but she does offer some wise cautionary advice on using them.
I am not a fan of writing from forms, at least in persuasive writing. See, for example, this old post. I can see their usefulness when the purpose is not persuasion. If you must use them, follow Megan’s advice. And take a look at these old post from 2007 and 2009.
Does your draft brief exceed the court’s page limit? Before asking the court for extra pages, try these tips by Mark Herrmann for getting the brief under the page limit.
For practicing lawyers, the purpose of writing articles is to develop business. By writing authoritatively, you can establish your knowledge of the subject you’re writing on. And with any luck, your article will be read by someone in a position to send you business.
So how do you get your articles read by people who can send you business? Mark Herrmann has some thoughts on that. For instance:
- Do not write for publications aimed at lawyers. If you do, your audience will consist of your competitors, not potential clients.
- Write for on-line publications. Print is becoming passe, especially among people who don’t have time to page through a magazine.
- Whatever else you do, don’t say anything like “aforesaid” in the first paragraph. If you do, you’ll make an impression, but it won’t be a good one.
The good folks at the OED debunk 7 grammar myths you may have learned in school.
Here is the first of a series of YouTube videos by the Comma Queen, a.k.a. Mary Norris, copy editor for the New Yorker. As a proofreader and editor, I love her long, graceful deletes!
I just redesigned this blog to make it easier to read on your smart phone or tablet. If you’re reading this post by e-mail or RSS feed, click on through and check out the new look.
If you have not read The Sense of Structure by George Gopen, you should. His lessons on structuring your sentences and paragraphs are invaluable. Recently he has written a series of articles for the ABA’ Litigation magazine. And George has been kind enough to share those articles on his web site. If you have not read his book, or if you have read it but need a refresher, check them out.