Friday, June 17, 2011

The "Dirty Dozen" of Legal Writing

I saw an article from the June Issue of the ABA Journal called "Dirty Dozen: 12 Ways to Write a Really Bad Brief" (see the link below), describing 12 "Donts" of legal writing, and thought I'd share. Looking at this from a more "positive" standpoint, I think that if you take anything away from these 12 "Don'ts", it is the following "Dos":

(1) Be brief;
(2) Be reasonable; and
(3) Be real.

Something that we may all, from time to time, forget is the "Golden Rule" of being an effective lawyer: Avoid the temptation to "sound like a lawyer." If you're too long-winded, too much of an advocate, and use too much legalese, you lose your audience (and in the case of legal brief, you lose the judge you're trying to convince). I also find that these 3 simple rules work well in trial when talking with jurors.