Monday, November 16, 2009

Stephanie A’s Legal Writing Tips

For those of us interested in working in the legal field, it is important to have a good understanding of the type of writing that will be required. Legal writing is actually quite different than other styles of writing, so I thought I would do a little research to find useful writing tips that can help those interested in working in a legal environment.

The University of Miami School of Law offers some great advice on how to become a better legal writer. Here are some of the tips that stood out to me:

  • Avoid using the Passive voice

Legal writing should be persuasive. When you use the passive voice, it sounds like you are unsure of yourself, and it lacks clarity. Instead, use the active voice to make your writing more direct and effective.

  • Avoid wordiness

Unnecessary phrases tend to make legal writing cluttered. Try to use short, concise phrases instead. For instance, do not use “due to the fact that” when “because” will suffice.

  • Use gender-neutral language

Avoid using masculine nouns and pronouns for general reference. Use gender-neutral synonyms instead, such as “worker” instead of “workman,” and “persons” instead of “men.”

  • Be consistent

Clear legal writing requires consistency. Once you pick a term, use the same term for each reference. For instance, if you use the word “case,” do not change it up with “a piece of litigation” or “suit.” This may cause confusion. Just stick with the same term. It is more important to be understood than to seem repetitious.

I hope these tips will be helpful to anyone planning on working in the legal field. Legal writing is a bit tricky, but with these tips we should be on our way to becoming better legal writers!

For more of these great tips, check out this website:


  1. This is a great post. I really like the image because it grabs the attention of the reader. The only other thing that I would add would be a few more recommended websites. Your tips were helpful, and many people will find them useful. Great job!

  2. I love this topic, more websites would be helpful. If you're going to include sites, always use more than one!

    thanks :)