Legal Writing

PerfectIt: new editing tool for lawyers

by Rebecca on November 25, 2015

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I’ve written before about tools I use in my practice to help me be efficient. I’ve now added one more tool to help with legal writing. PerfectIt by Intelligent Editing has recently released a new style sheet called American Legal Style. It’s a Word add-in to help edit legal documents. The creator knew I used […]

rollercoaster abruptly ending

You finally finished drafting the argument section of your brief; you are mentally spent. So for the conclusion you copy and paste: “For the foregoing reasons, Defendant asks this Court to grant its motion.” Yes, it feels a little anticlimactic and abrupt, but at least the brief is done. Perhaps you think that judges aren’t […]

How zombies make me a better writer

by Rebecca on May 18, 2012

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I recently outran five zombie mobs. My kids ask if I did a zombie run when they get home and whether the zombies got me. At least two of them understand that I’m not really being chased. I’ve been playing Zombies, Run! I take my iPhone on my run, start the app, and I hear […]

The end of excuses for ugly documents.

by Rebecca on December 6, 2010

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I like to think I know how to design a document. You won’t catch me using two spaces after a period. I don’t use all caps. And my AutoCorrect options are set to use curly quotes. So I was feeling pretty good through the first 50 pages of Typography for Lawyers: Essential Tools for Polished […]

Post image for But I can start sentences with “And” or “But”!

Forget your teacher’s red marker. I’m an English major and grew up going to fantastic public schools in Virginia. But somewhere along the way I thought that I could not start sentences with And or But. Not until after law school did I learn I was wrong. And if you’ve read my other legal-writing posts, […]

There’s a picture in my brief!

by Rebecca on October 18, 2010

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I’ve written two briefs recently where I was able to incorporate graphics. While I’m not the first person to include graphics in legal writing, I still felt like I was pushing the envelope a bit. And it was fun—a little rebellious and a little creative. I wasn’t sure how the hiring attorneys would feel about […]

Footnotes, efficiency, and Adobe

by Rebecca on September 23, 2010

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I’ve made it known that when I have my druthers, I use footnotes in briefs. I began to use footnotes when, through my independent studying of legal writing, I became convinced that it makes for a clearer brief when you use sentences and paragraphs to argue rather than string citations. When you move all the […]

Post image for What would a librarian do: Keys to cost-effective legal research

With two librarians in my family, I think my mom would be proud that I am asking, “What would a librarian do?” in studying ways for cost-effective legal research. In Thinking Like a Librarian: Tips for Better Legal Research, Richard Buckingham, the Electronic Services and Legal Reference Librarian at Suffolk University Law School, offers practicing […]