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You’ve probably been baffled by all of the different texts and articles telling you how to write and in what way in the legal community. One source telling you one way and another leading you down another route, well below are the top ten tips to adapt your style and meaniong of writing if you are writing for the legal community:
1. Always write short sentences because they are better than long ones. Remember that the topic sentence is the first sentence in each paragraph.
2. Do not use the passive voice because passive voice verbs are used without a subject and hence give the impression that you are not sure about it yourself. Moreover, they lack the punch. This means that the sentence “Donald did it” has a more impact than “the theft had been committed”.
3. Your writing should be like your speech: simple, direct, unpretentious. Think about the flow of logic. Never try and write like the courts because Judges write badly – like most other legal writers. However, avoid contractions (don’t use “don’t”), slang, and jokes — even if you talk that way, because the use of them opens up a certain amateurish aspect in writing. Never use pretentious legalisms such as “the case at bar” or “the instant case”. Call it the Angelina case. The use of long words should be avoided when short ones will do.