Article Title

Writing Like a Lawyer


There is a problem of bad legal writing – one that is far more serious than we recognize or are willing to admit. The causes include insufficient education in good writing, carelessness, faulty thinking and reasoning, a failure to appreciate the potential and impact of legal language, an unwillingness to risk new language, and an inability or failure to make the time commitment required for good legal writing. First, at the law school level, legal writing must be given greater emphasis. If our programs are not able to deal with poor command of language, grammar, and syntax, perhaps we must set a higher standard for law school applicants than exist at the present time. Second, we must acknowledge at the law school level that the development of legal writing skills requires a significant time commitment. Third, clinical legal education programs need to expand their coverage of fact analysis to enhance the writing skills of future lawyers. Finally, the issue of bad legal writing is more than a law school’s problem to solve; practicing lawyers have a responsibility to produce legal writing that meets professional standards.