To produce strong and persuasive legal writing requires careful organisation and planning.
To do this, I recommend breaking your work down into multiple phases to brainstorm, plan, organise and finalise your work. This allows you to focus on specific writing issues in your text without unnecessary distractions.
The following are some brief thoughts about this process:
- Brainstorming is critical before you write anything. Your should focus on the message or points you wish to share with your readers and what they actually want to know about. Before you create a first draft, give your brain the time to process your ideas. Once you are clear on what you wish to write about, you can start organising these thoughts.
- Perfection doesn’t exist. That said, the more time you have to plan and organise your thoughts, the more accessible the text will ultimately be to the reader. Starting with a clear plan will help make your writing appear clear and connected.
- Organising can be tricky. Deciding on the order of the issues can be tough. But, importantly, if you don’t consider the text from your readers point of view they could lose interest quickly. Therefore, think carefully about what your readers care about and make this information accessible (e.g. by placing it near the beginning) and readily findable (e.g. by using headings, numbering and charts).
- Finalising the text should be easy! That is, as long as sufficient time was devoted to the initial draft. Here, scrutinise your work from various angles (e.g. sentence, paragraph structure, grammar and punctuation, style and flow of language in your document) and take sufficient time between each individual phase of review so that you can look at your document from a new perspective each time.
I’d love to hear from you with your experiences with persuasive legal writing. Please send me your comments and, as always, let me know if I can help with your ongoing projects.
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