Good Legal Writing Is Usually Short And Sweet


Paper Approach stack pile of papers documents

Try taking out the double areas after the durations. Bump the margins. That’ll repair it!

As many attorneys know from firsthand expertise, quite a few courts have phrase or web page limits to maintain attorneys from submitting extraordinarily prolonged papers to a decide. Judicial sources are restricted, and court docket officers have to impose dimension restrictions to make sure that they’ve enough time to learn and thoroughly digest supplies. Although attorneys typically attempt to be artful to get round size limitations, and should wrestle to adapt their papers to the necessities of court docket guidelines, attorneys ought to attempt to hold their arguments quick and easy since this may improve the possibilities that the court docket will overview and correctly digest authorized arguments.

When I used to be in Biglaw, we have been as soon as tasked with writing an enchantment, and the web page restrict for the enchantment was both 30 or 40 pages. Our workplace tried the whole lot doable to maintain our arguments inside the restrict. We deleted the controversial second interval after sentences in order that we may avoid wasting areas on every web page. Moreover, we deleted pointless string cites and caught to crucial authorities to buttress our factors. Throughout the method, I assumed how silly it was that we have been bending over backward to chop our argument down to precisely what the web page restrict was. Surely, the court docket may see what they have been doing, and the court docket would seemingly simply admire it if we made the transient substantively shorter.

There are a wide range of explanation why it pays to maintain authorized writing quick and candy. For one, this makes it much more seemingly that individuals will really learn and digest the supplies. No one likes to learn lengthy, voluminous papers. When somebody is confronted with an extended piece of authorized writing, they’re much more more likely to skim the pages and never learn the whole lot as carefully. This is as a result of people seemingly have a set period of time to overview the supplies irrespective of how lengthy the authorized writing is.

As a end result, shorter authorized writing could also be preferable, since this makes it extra seemingly that court docket officers and different people will learn these supplies. In addition, if court docket officers have much less info to digest, it’s extra seemingly that they may be capable of hold the main points of a matter of their heads when issues are argued and determined. Judges and court docket officers normally need to overview dozens or extra issues in a given week, and if attorneys hold their papers to a minimal, it’s extra seemingly {that a} court docket will be capable of higher grasp the problems concerned in a case.

Good authorized writing can also be normally shorter as a result of this may help focus the eye of the court docket. If somebody has good arguments, it pays to deal with these arguments in a succinct method. This ensures that the arguments are correctly digested by the court docket because the court docket’s consideration can be on these arguments alone they usually can have essentially the most impression on a decide. If a celebration has prolonged authorized writing that depends on quite a few arguments, it’s doable that the court docket could also be distracted by arguments which can be much less sturdy.

Of course, there are typically explanation why attorneys want to incorporate quite a few arguments, and accordingly, have longer papers. For occasion, preserving arguments for enchantment would possibly require a lawyer to dedicate area to an argument which may not have the most effective likelihood of profitable. Nevertheless, by and huge, it pays to deal with just a few stable arguments and hold the papers quick to amplify these arguments.

Short and concise authorized writing can also be more economical in lots of situations and may help defend a consumer’s backside line. When I used to be in Biglaw, the agency would typically invoice tens of 1000’s of {dollars} writing voluminous briefs on each easy factor in a litigation. I distinctly keep in mind the agency spending an excessive period of time engaged on a deficiency letter and discovery movement on a problem that was not that important to the lawsuit.

I can not think about what it will need to have been prefer to be the consumer reviewing invoices for writing in depth papers involving a easy discovery movement. Of course, some lawsuits are extraordinarily excessive stakes, and each challenge must be litigated extensively. In such situations, legislation corporations have to work up each challenge and shoppers seemingly perceive that’s vital to draft complete authorized papers although a problem is comparatively minor. However, shoppers may even seemingly admire shorter authorized writing in lots of situations since shorter authorized writing is usually inexpensive and may help protect a consumer’s conflict chest for different issues in a lawsuit.

All informed, attorneys are usually a verbose group of individuals, and I’m certain most attorneys have struggled with area limitations or know a colleague who has. However, quick authorized writing is normally higher authorized writing, and judges and shoppers might admire it if a lawyer retains their papers quick and candy, particularly if they’re briefing a comparatively minor challenge.


Jordan Rothman is a accomplice of The Rothman Law Firm, a full-service New York and New Jersey legislation agency. He can also be the founding father of Student Debt Diaries, a web site discussing how he paid off his pupil loans. You can attain Jordan via electronic mail at jordan@rothmanlawyer.com.



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