Technical documentation is an integral part of every law firm. These legal documents are essentially the backbone of the business and where the important details of the case can be found. It`s always helpful for someone else to edit your work and proofread, but you should be able to take care of the basics yourself. Master the basics of spelling and grammar – Lawyers who present documents with spelling and grammar mistakes are considered less credible and without attention to detail. Always keep your sentence structure short and concise in legal writing. If necessary, make an effort to use plain language in your legal writing while showing that you understand the jargon and can easily present it to the reader. Whatever the field of activity, there are documents common to all jurisdictions. These include: Legal formatting has some basic elements that ensure it is complete and sophisticated, although specifications and requirements may vary depending on the type of document. No matter what medium or document you write, all good writers should always use at least the spell checker. Advances in copywriting technology have also made legal drafting much easier. For example, writing apps like Grammarly and Ginger can help you spot grammar, spelling, and other language mistakes.
Legal documents are usually long and time-consuming to compile and read. Make it easier for your readers by defining important sections of the document for easy reference. To impose a legal obligation, use “must”. To predict future actions, use “will.” DO NOT SAY: Let the governor approve it. SAY: The governor must approve it. [Commitment] OR: The governor will approve it. [Future actions] 4. Be direct. Speak directly to your readers. Enjoy the imperative mood. Regulations are suitable for this style, especially procedures, instructions, and to-do lists. The franchise avoids the liability:SAY: Sign all copies.
SAY: Attach a copy of your W-2 to your return. This style results in shorter, sharper and easier to understand procedures. 5. Use the present tense. A regulation with continuing effect refers to when you apply it, not when you write it or when it comes into force. For this reason, you should write regulations in the present tense. By drawing in the present tense, you avoid complicated and cumbersome verbal forms. DON`T: The fine for driving without a licence is $10.00. SAY: The fine for driving without a licence is $10.00. 6. Write positively. If you can express an idea positively or negatively, express it positively.
DO NOT SAY: The governor cannot appoint persons other than those qualified by the Human Resources Agency. SAY: The governor must appoint a qualified person by the Human Resources Agency. A negative statement can be clear. Use it when you warn the reader. DON`T WALKDON`T SMOKE But avoid multiple negatives in a sentence. DON`T SAY: A demonstration project will not be approved until all the requirements of the application are met. SAY: A demonstration project will only be approved if the applicant meets all requirements. It is better to express even a negative in a positive form. Finally, you should always keep your content descriptions consistent in every section of your legal document.
An example of direct language includes: “Sign all copies and return them according to the instructions.” Ultimately, this notation leads to procedures that are easier to understand and execute. Naturally, it can be difficult to spot spelling and grammar mistakes right away. Once you`ve read your document several times, you`ll usually cover up your own mistakes. Other helpful legal writing tips for the editing process include reading your letter aloud or reading to sharpen your focus and spot mistakes you would otherwise miss. Always remember that you can clean up your writing at the editing stage – you don`t need to make the formatting perfect the first time. Whether you`re involved in litigation, entering into a contract, or planning your estate, there are times when you want to prepare your own legal documents and avoid the cost of a lawyer. If this applies to you, you must first understand what type of document you will prepare, what should belong in that document, and how to design that document to give it the legal force it needs. With these points in mind, you can start writing your legal document.
Without accurate documentation of a trial or other legal issue, this might as well have never happened. However, this does not mean that legal documents should not be decipherable for those who read them. Legal documents should contain all the important information. While it is important to keep them short, it is important that no relevant information is omitted. The writing process is complex and goes beyond just putting words on paper. Research, writing and editing are important skills for good legal writing. The more you practice writing, the easier it will be and the better your work will be over time. 15. Use specific words. Government writings often deal with abstract subjects. But abstract words can be vague and open to different interpretations.