Legal Research And Writing FAQQuimbee Legal Research And Writing CLE Online
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An Overview of Legal Research And Writing
Legal writing requires a distinct set of skills that makes it unique from nearly all other forms of writing. Traditionally, legal writing has been viewed as convoluted and indecipherable–so much so that the term “legalese” has its own dictionary entry. However, recently there has been a push to make legal writing more accessible to the general population. Legal documents are expected to be concise and clear–attributes that may not have been as highly valued in the past.
Legal writing is largely focused on presenting authoritative, persuasive arguments. This type of writing is largely seen in appellate briefs and other documents submitted to a court, where the attorney must convince a judge or other adjudicator of the merits of his or her position. Many courts have a specific format for the documents submitted to them, and lawyers are expected to follow this format flawlessly. These arguments are also bolstered through legal research - the identification and retrieval of information that's essential to making legal decisions. This research can include finding resources like previous cases and statues, digging through secondary sources like law dictionaries and encyclopedias, and even looking through non-law-related sources like newspapers for investigative information. All of these things are essential to building the groundwork for legal writing.
Legal writing also takes other forms. Drafting legal documents like wills and contracts is a vital aspect of many lawyers’ jobs. Poor drafting can often lead to drawn-out litigation and outcomes that neither the client nor the lawyer expected or desired. At times, legal writing needs to be an analysis of a legal problem, with a
balanced look at all reasonable arguments. This generally occurs in intra-office memoranda, when a firm is deciding whether to accept a potential case or client.
Who Should Take CLE Courses in Legal Research And Writing?
Many lawyers don’t formally practice their legal research and writing skills after graduating from law school. Because legal writing is such a vital component
of almost all legal jobs, most attorneys can benefit from a CLE course in legal writing. Both transactional lawyers and litigators regularly produce legal writing, and developing the skills necessary to create strong legal research and writing can be the difference between winning a case or gaining a client and losing them. Law professors are another large group who benefit from strong legal writing skills–the more clear and persuasive their writing, the more outlets they’re likely to find who are willing to publish their scholarly articles. These CLE courses can also benefit judges, law professors, paralegals, legislators, and anyone whose job involves some form of legal research and writing.