We must break free from writing like, well, laywers

September 06, 2016

Few things in legal practice are more frustrating than aimless, rambling writing. The law is complicated enough without adding linguistic, syntactic or organizational confusion. We faced it in law school as we struggled to grasp old, cryptic, monolithic judicial opinions. And many lawyers, trained to read those opinions, mimic that impenetrable style. As a profession, we must break the cycle and strive for clarity. One way to add clarity is by actively guiding reader

There are many ways to guide readers, aid comprehension and avoid reader frustration. Here I discuss four: (1) a strong introduction, (2) informative section headings, (3) topic sentences and (4) bulleted or numbered lists. These tools will help ensure your readers understand what you've written the first time through. They may also make you a more thoughtful and conscientious writer in the process. 

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