Some people go into law school knowing how much writing will be needed during the course of their career; they may even look forward to the process (like me). Others find direction and fulfillment in client interactions, finessing the courtroom, and generating more leads. If you happen to be both, you are truly blessed and I invite you to skip down to the “When to Outsource Legal Writing” section. If you are the latter, or you find yourself pressed for time, stick around for my brief synopsis of legal writing and the value of outsourcing your important briefs.
Legal Writing Makes or Breaks the Case
The foundation of all legal writing is to inform and tell a story, but ultimately the goal is to persuade the court that your argument is correct. Convincing the court starts with the written word, not a face-to-face conversation. The argument within your brief doesn’t just need to be compelling and convincing, it must be clear, concise, and error free.
How to Write Legal Briefs That Persuade
The vast majority of legal writing is incredibly, woefully boring. The court has stacks of documents to read to begin with; standing out is critical. Therefore, I’ve always thought it was important to tell a story that gets the court’s attention. Breaking out of the dull legal brief mold allows you to tell a story that piques their interest while educating them on the case.
An excellent brief will accurately and compellingly lay out the law, and do so briefly, so as not to take up too much of the court's time. Briefs don’t need to be unnecessarily short, but long enough to make the points that you need to make. Winning briefs will be well-resourced, avoiding exaggeration so as not to lose credibility, and are written with accurate knowledge and portrayal of the law, with well-researched, to-the-point facts.
When to Outsource Legal Writing
A lot of firms are one-man/woman-shows. The lawyer becomes the accountant, the writer, the sales person, the HR department, and more. Half of the legal firms in my fine state could save time and money by outsourcing their writing, particularly for their significant briefs; here’s why:
Researching, writing, and editing legal briefs is a standstill activity, as most lawyers are already aware.
- This is an all-consuming activity, typically for days at a time. Life is on hold, work is on hold. For those that don’t enjoy the task, it’s a kind of living hell. As I mentioned earlier - this isn’t the case for me. I’m comfortable writing everything from run-of-the mill briefs to complex federal court submissions.
- Top-notch quality briefs give you a leg-up in the process and might even even the playing field against bigger firms with a staff of paralegal writers.
- Outsourcing your writing gets you back to work on the important tasks, taking depositions, going to the courthouse, meeting with clients, and generating new cases. Path the writing to me and get back to doing what you love.
This is particularly important to consider if your case goes federal, with a real significant brief. Outsourcing the written legal work could make the difference between a pass or fail. For instance, if you ever find yourself in the 8th Circuit of Appeals, I’ve been behind that curtain in particular, and have insight into how they operate.
Outsourcing your legal writing can pay dividends almost immediately. My clients have absolute authority to change my writing, and typically let me work as a ghostwriter for an excellent first draft. So if you find yourself short on time, or find your passion in the spoken word, try testing an outsourced document. You might find some free time at the office.