“The Lawyer as Professional Writer”

“The Lawyer as Professional Writer”
by Brandon J. Harrison
62 Arkansas Law Review 725 (2009)

Brandon Harrison starts by writing:

“Lawyers are professional writers.  If you practice law in Arkansas or anywhere else in the world, then you are by any practical definition a professional writer.  Accept it or not, it’s true.”

Harrison goes on to list key thoughts and steps to improve your writing skills as an attorney (and also as a student):

“Develop and hone your professional writer’s voice”

“Legal writing is a serious affair”

“Choose the right words”

“To write well is to think clearly”

“Architecture. Architecture. Architecture.”

“Read good writing”

“Make good writing habitual”

“You are also allowed, indeed encouraged, to be interesting”

“Paint with words”

“Now you know what to do, what will you do it?”

The article closes with advice from William Zinsser (On Writing Well):

“Ultimately….good writing rests on craft and always will.  I don’t know what still newer electronic marvels are waiting just around the corner to make writing twice as easy and twice as fast in the next 25 years.  But I do know they won’t make writing twice as good.  That will still require plain old hard work–clear thinking–and the plain old tools of the English language.”

This entry was posted in Legal Research & Writing and tagged , , by Erika Wayne. Bookmark the permalink.

About Erika Wayne

Erika V. Wayne is deputy library director and lecturer in law at Stanford Law School. Along with George Wilson, Kate Wilko and Paul Lomio, Erika Wayne has co-taught Advanced Legal Research for 3 years. Erika's interest in Open Access dates back to the 1996 when she helped in the development of the Securities Class Action Clearinghouse -- the first court designated internet site for public posting of securities litigation filings. And, she hates to pay for *anything* that should be free. She has a law degree from Penn and a library degree from Illinois.

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