Legal analysis and writing are among the most important lawyering skills. Find ways to continuously hone these skills throughout law school. Even if you are not on a journal, there are plenty of opportunities to develop this critical expertise:
- Write for or edit a school-sponsored publication such as a magazine or quarterly brief, preferably one dedicated to the field of law you hope to pursue professionally.
- Volunteer to be a teaching assistant or tutor in the writing department. Helping 1Ls understand the fundamentals of legal writing will strengthen your knowledge base and give you the chance to edit the work of others.
- Undertake an independent study project so that you can write a final paper. In addition to choosing your own topic (thereby focusing on something that interests you), papers enable you to keep your research skills sharp and can serve as a wonderful writing sample.
- Participate in a clinic. Drafting briefs to submit to courts, tribunals or panels for real clients will be a great preparation.
Check out the following books for helpful tips on improving your writing skills:
Bryan A. Garner, Advanced Legal Writing & Editing
(LawProse, Inc. 2001)
Richard Neumann, Jr., Legal Reasoning and Legal Writing: Structure, Strategy, and Style
(Aspen Law & Business 2001)
Louis J. Sirico, Jr. & Nancy L. Schultz, Persuasive Writing For Lawyers and The Legal Profession
(Lexis/Nexis 2nd ed. 2001)
William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style
(McMillan 2d ed. 1972)
John R. Trimble, Writing with Style
(Prentice Hall, 2nd ed. 2000)
Richard C. Wydick, Plain English For Lawyers
(Carolina Academic Press 4th ed. 1998)