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Legal Writing Resources

I have just been introduced to an excellent resource on legal writing, a blog called the (new) legal writer. Its tagline is “A collection of resources for lawyers, who write.” That is exactly what it is.

Did you notice the punctuation in the subtitle? I am referring to “lawyers, who write.” At first, I thought the choice of a comma was odd, if not incorrect. It implies that all lawyers write. Then I realized the comma is correct–all lawyers do write.

The (new) legal writer introduced me to valuable resources I was unaware of. I especially like a category, Articles by Others, which led me to “What to Do When a Student Says ‘My Boss Won’t Let Me Write Like That’ ?” In it, author Wayne Schiess discusses a topic that often comes up in business writing classes. When participants learn or validate writing skills in classes, they wonder whether they can apply them back on the job, where their supervisors insist on thick, bureaucratic writing. Schiess and I seem to agree: Write for your reader, and when your reader is your supervisor, write what he or she needs. This situation may be more common among attorneys than other business professionals, but many of us can relate to it.

The (new) legal writer, by lawyer Raymond P. Ward, is rich in resources and generous in spirit. Visit the site, and recommend it to your attorney friends, who write.

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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.