If you think like that, your writing will get tighter and clearer. Use examples, descriptions, or analogies if those can help the reader understand your point, such as illustrating how a clause in the contract is supposed to work. Finally, be sure to make your writing understandable to outsiders, i. This is really important if your company gets into litigation where ambiguous or poorly written documents can sink you.
Make it easy on the eyes. No one likes staring at 3, words of text in block form. Break up blocks of text to make it easier to read and more interesting to look at. If you make the presentation of the writing easy on the eyes, you are more likely to engage the reader and have them grasp the key points. Grammar matters a lot for in-house lawyers.
You are being judged and measured every time you interact with the business, especially when interacting with the executive team. One thing they look for is how well do their lawyers communicate.
Your email may only be going to your friend in Finance, but keep in mind that she may need to send it along to the CFO, who may in turn send it to the CEO or the board. While these folks may or may not know if you have a good legal mind, they will know immediately if you can write well. Bad writers generally do not advance in the company.
Additionally, here are some common grammar errors to lookout for when you write:. Be careful with overuse of exclamation points! Note that in American English the commas and periods always inside of the quotation marks, the opposite of our friends across the Atlantic though I prefer the British-style on this point.
Using the active voice makes your writing more direct and powerful. Many executives and board members look for this when they read memos or reports. I have seen it first-hand. The rules of grammar can be tricky.
Pick yourself up a copy, keep it nearby, and refer to it often. Another common mistake in-house lawyers make with their writing is using a lot of legal jargon — just like they are taught in law school and at the firm.
This includes common legal Latin phrases that always pop up when lawyers write, such as prima facie , ultra vires , dictum , a fortiori , res ipsa loquitur , and so on. Alas, none of this is useful when writing to the business. They do not want nor need to see this after a key point:.
Sterling , A. But see Nowitzki vs. James , So. You are not writing for a partner at a law firm or for the court, you are writing for business professionals. There is little if any need to include case or other citations in your communications to the business.
The exception to this rule is when you are writing to another in-house lawyer or to the general counsel and you know they are looking for legal research on the issue. No one likes to be wrong, especially lawyers. On the other hand, the court might do Y. They just want your best answer. I would write it like this:. Based on what we know today,and in particular [Y], we think the mostly likely thing the court will do is [X].
Similarly, the business wants to know what its options are in any particular circumstance and, ultimately, what it should do.
This often requires you, as the attorney, to set out and weigh risk. You need to describe the type of risk s at issue, the range of potential consequences e. Could you be wrong? Absolutely, but business people deal with risk, unknowns and probability all the time. Always be clear with your reader about the next steps, i. How to shape your legal storytelling. Cybersecurity and the law Law firms can learn from other industries' missteps on cybersecurity awareness and prevention How clients are pushing their outside counsels to adopt stricter cybersecurity standards and protections South Carolina requires insurers to have plans safeguarding customer data A guide for legal practitioners Photo of Bryan A.
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Although you had assumed that the advertised terms applied only while supplies lasted, your ad had not included language to that effect. Under these facts, a court would likely apply the well-settled law that a general advertisement that merely lists items for sale is at best an invitation to negotiate, not an offer to form a contract.
For example, where an advertisement containing terms for sale was missing the amount of goods available for sale, a court held that the seller had not made an offer that was complete and definite in all material terms. Thus, no contract was ever made between the seller and a person who submitted a purchase order.
By announcing that "the early bird catches the savings," the ad implied that the supplies would run out. Thus, no contract came into existence from this transaction. Although the additional text might increase the cost of advertising, in the long run inserting this additional language in the ads could save you time and the costs involved in defending claims such as this one.
Despite its challenges, the most effective lawyers are those who appreciate the importance of great legal drafting, and actively implement strategies to improve their drafting skills. The best way to do this is not with tricks and gimmicks, but with attention to the fundamentals of good legal writing.
Home > Legal Writing Center > For Students > Drafting a Client Letter. For Students. Help! I Need a Writing Sample! Multilingual Legal Writers; Book Reviews specifies the legal issue on which the client seeks advice, and states the writer's conclusion. Legal Writing Center;.
The following will be a guide to writing an effective and legally sound legal opinion. It will begin by discussing the qualities of good writing which is central to writing a successful legal opinion. The importance of legal advice-writing During your time at Law School, you will have learned how to answer problem-type questions for exams and assignments. This is an important skill, because it trains you how to abstract the relevant facts from the irrelevant, identify the legal issues, state the.
Feb 16, · Ten Things: Writing Skills for In-House Counsel (It’s Different In-House) “Ten Things” is not legal advice or legal opinion. It is intended to provide practical tips and references to the busy in-house practitioner and other readers. how to write, writing skills for in-house lawyers on February 16, by Sterling. Perhaps the most important skill a new lawyer needs to have a firm grasp of is writing. Learn how to write a good legal memo here. Template included. you don’t need to kill yourself getting it done or neglect other assignments you might have. If you can help it, never begin work on a writing project unless you have a timeframe for.