Yesterday I had the opportunity of leading a writing workshop for the Puget Sound chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators. What an intelligent, enthusiastic, precise group!
Participants had several questions specifically pertaining to their profession. Here are two:
- In a business letter, is it acceptable to CC "All Counsel" or do I need to list each attorney’s name? (The group recommended the list.)
- Is the serial comma (the comma before and in "Mr. Norton, Dr. Wills, and Ms. Raye") required in legal writing? (We decided yes–the comma can make the difference between winning and losing a case.)
Their questions reminded me how important it is to have resources and references in one’s own field. Below are three legal writing blogs I recommend. Each one opens the door to many other legal writing resources.
- The (New) Legal Writer. Tagline: A collection of resources for lawyers, who write.
- Legal Research and Writing. Tagline: Practical insight and commentary on legal research and writing.
- Legalwriting.net. Tagline: Wayne Schiess on making legal writing clear, correct, direct.
Raymond Ward’s The (New) Legal Writer led me to Daniel U. Smith’s article "Ten Steps to Persuasive Legal Writing." In it, Smith writes:
"If someone says you think like a lawyer, that is often a compliment. But if someone says you write like a lawyer, that’s always a criticism."
The excellent efforts of bloggers Raymond Ward, Susan McDonald, and Wayne Schiess should go a long way in changing that perception.
If you are aware of other good resources on business writing in specific fields, please share them.