Few skills are more important to litigators than legal writing. That is especially true for IP litigators tasked with explaining complex technologies to an audience without a deep background in the technology. Your ability to package facts and law into a compelling, understandable story can make or break your case. Because of that, I follow several writing blogs, for example Manage Your Writing and Adams Drafting. Here are a few writing tips from some of my favorite writing blogs:
- Managing Your Writing has a great post focused on using parallel language in lists — click here to read it and here to read the cited Writing Matters post. I love bulleted lists in briefs and letters, but if you do not make them parallel, you really harm the effectiveness of the list. My additional thought is that you also must pay attention to the visual layout of the list, going for approximately equally sized bullets whenever possible (as you can see from this list, it does not always work.
- Trial Practice Tips Weblog discussed the dangers of overstating your positions — click here to read it and here to read the cited Robust Writing post. Zealous advocacy puts litigators in danger of overstating their positions. The overstatement often reads well in a vacuum, but rarely fares well with the court. Few things are as detrimental to a lawyer or litigant’s credibility than overstatements in pleadings. Practice tip: When team-editing a brief you have to be especially careful to do a final edit to remove accidental overstatements.