What Are Legal Writings

The Office of the Federal Register, a division of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, presents this free legal writing guide to help agencies create clear and enforceable regulatory documents. While this resource is intended for federal organizations, others can access the guide to learn how to write a set of regulations. Useful topics include clear drafting principles, the layout of legal documents, and format requirements for regulatory documents. This introduction to basic legal citations was written by Peter W. Martin, Jane M.G. Foster Professor Emeritus of Law, former Dean of Cornell Law School and co-founder of the Legal Information Institute. The website offers a series of video tutorials on citing important categories of legal sources, including legal opinions, constitutional and legal provisions, and agency documents. Although some of these services are free, many of them have a paid version to unlock additional features.

Consider investing in some of these paid versions if your job requires a lot of writing – it`s worth taking your legal writing skills to the next level. These characteristics tend to formalize legal drafting. This formality can take the form of long sentences, complex constructions, archaic and hyperformal vocabulary, and a focus on content to the exclusion of readers` needs. Some of this formality in legal drafting is necessary and desirable, given the importance of certain legal documents and the seriousness of the circumstances in which certain legal documents are used. But not all the formalities of the legal letter are justified. To the extent that formality leads to opacity and inaccuracy, it is not desirable. To the extent that formality interferes with the reader`s understanding, it is less desirable. In particular, if the legal content is to be conveyed to non-lawyers, formality should give way to clear communication. There are generally two broad categories of legal writing: 1) legal analysis, which has two components: a) predictive analysis and b) persuasive analysis, and 2) legal drafts. Predictive writing (e.g. Objective legal notes) Readers may get tired, especially if they are reading a lengthy legal document. To make sure your point of view is well understood, try to summarize your conclusions from the beginning, while perhaps still having the reader`s attention.

Drafting legal documents such as contracts is different because, unlike most other categories of legal drafting, it is common to use language and clauses derived from form books, legal opinions, and other documents without attribution. Lawyers use standard documents when drafting documents such as contracts, wills, and judgments. The main difference between using sentences or paragraphs from other legal documents and copying them in other contexts or copying the entire document is that lawyers do use a common set of clauses that they adapt and modify for their own purposes. [9] There are four distinguishing features in legal writing: Authority: Legal writing relies heavily on authority. In most legal writings, the author must support claims and statements with authoritative quotations. This is done according to a unique and complicated citation system, unlike any other kind of writing. Previous: Legal writing values precedent, as opposed to authority. Previous means the way things were done before. For example, if a contract needs to be prepared, a similar previous contract is often used as a template for the new occasion. Vocabulary: Legal drafting makes extensive use of technical terminology that can be categorized, including technical terms and phrases specific to the law (e.g. novation), ordinary words with different meanings in the law (e.g.

party [a client in a dispute], execute [sign]), archaic vocabulary that uses many ancient words and phrases, which was once a common language, but which today exists mainly or only in law (e.g. here, here, where [as pronominal adverbs]), and by words and expressions borrowed from other languages, namely Latin (e.g. mens rea, prima facie, sub judice). Formality: These features tend to make legal drafting more formal. It can take the form of long sentences, complex constructions, archaic and hyperformal vocabulary, and a focus on content on the needs of the reader. Some of this formality in legal drafting is necessary and desirable, given the importance of most legal documents and the seriousness of the circumstances in which legal documents are typically used, but certainly not all formalities in legal drafting are justified. You may have come across the term « legal language. » It was first used in 1914 for legal texts that are very difficult for laymen to read and understand, implying that this « abscontusion » is intentional, trying to exclude legally untrained people and justify high fees. Legal language is characterized by long sentences, numerous amending clauses, complex vocabulary, great abstraction and insensitivity to the layman`s need to understand the essence of the document. Legal language is most common in legal writing, but can also occur in both types of legal analysis – the three categories described above. The so-called Plain Language Movement in Legal Writing is an organized attempt to avoid complex language and terminology in legal documents in order to make legal drafting more understandable and accessible. The trend in many universities and law schools today is to teach legal writing in a way that recognizes the technical complexity of law and the justified formality that complexity often requires, but with an emphasis on clarity, simplicity, and candor. For us, as authors, it is crucial to find the right balance and establish the level of formality in each legal document in order to assess and take into account the needs and expectations of the specific audience.

After all, it`s ultimately about creating effective and successful texts. The book Indigo was compiled by a team of students from New York University School of Law led by Professor Christopher Jon Sprigman. The book covers legal citations for U.S. legal documents, as well as books, journals, and electronic resources. According to Sprigman, « anyone using the Indigo book will create memos, memos, legal review articles, and other legal documents with citations consistent with the uniform citation system. » The legal brief is the most common type of predictive legal analysis; It may contain the client`s letter or legal opinion. The legal memorandum predicts the outcome of a legal issue by analyzing the authorities responsible for the issue and the relevant facts that led to the legal issue. It explains and applies the authorities in predicting an outcome and ends with advice and recommendations. The legal memorandum also serves as an account of research on a particular legal issue. Traditional and to meet the expectations of the legal reader, it is formally organized and written. The Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington School of Law maintains a collection of free legal research guides covering a wide range of topics, including administrative law, constitutional law, labor law, labor law, trademark law, and more. Each guide includes free and business resources for conducting legal research. Even with a detailed overview, getting started can be difficult.

Writer-blocking is a real thing that even the most experienced legal writers suffer from. But don`t worry about making it perfect the first time, that`s what editing and correcting are for. In the context of legal research, legal language is usually formal or academic. Plus, there`s not much room for mistakes in legal drafting. You cannot use conjecture or speculation. We have to stick to the facts, otherwise there could be real consequences.