New Year - New Way of Writing

Happy new year! 

With every new year come resolutions to do better, be nicer, eat healthier, exercise more, work harder …. How about be a better writer (or demand that your attorneys write for a changing audience)!

At the DRI’s annual insurance coverage meeting in New York last month, one of the most interesting topics for me was one about changing how we write for Judges because so many Judges now read lawyers’ briefs on a computer screen – at their office or on a tablet on the road. The speaker’s suggestions included not only remarks on content, but on how the briefs look:

 

·        shorter paragraphs,

·        different font,

·        bullet points,

·        graphics within the text.

 

Step farther away from legalese. Simplify. Tighten up the writing. Consider how it looks. Consider its flow. Develop a more modern approach to how ideas, arguments and positions are communicated.

 

On the content side, Judges are looking to the internet* and even “Wikipedia.”** (*See e.g., MacKinnon v. Truck Ins. Exchg., 31 Cal.4th 635, 651, fn 5 (2003) (in reviewing what a layperson would understand as to the meaning of terms used in a pollution exclusion, court consulted with a database that consists of more than 8,600 English language news sources, including newspapers, magazines, and wire services). 

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** Fire Ins. Exchg. v. Oltmanns, 285 P.3d 802 (2012) (Utah) (court relied on Wikipedia, a “great repository of contemporary wisdom” in interpreting policy’s reference to a “jet ski”).)

 

Lawyers need to keep in step with change. To keep the Judge’s attention, and present the arguments in the best manner, adapt how you write, taking into consideration the audience and use an expanding tool box to make your points.

If you are interested in learning more writing tips, check out: http://www.texasbar.com/flashdrive/materials/managing_your_law_practice/Special_ManagingYourLawPracticeCLE_LegalWritingRewiredBrain_Dubose_FinalArticle.pdf

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Comments (1) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Luis@ Orange County Bail Bonds - January 25, 2013 7:34 AM

Its True, the writing pattern has a great stamp on the viewer. The article will help in writing the arguments in the best manner. Writing in Paragraph is a nice way to express the argument that to short and with different fonts and bold characters, this will take the attention of the person reviewing the arguments.

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