A common complaint about lawyers is that we rarely get out and connect with other humans. Failing to connect leads to a general lack of empathy, hoarding of knowledge, poor training and mentorship, and reinforced social hierarchy.
You’d expect that it would only get worse if you combined lawyers with Twitter since the social media platform is widely regarded as a fast-paced collection of fake news and misdirected rage. Imagine my surprise when I joined Twitter and saw that the world of law was much different!
In my experience, the Twitter legal community shares information freely, collaborates, challenges ideology, and mentors and supports one another. Some professors host online chats, some moot each other’s arguments, and still others travel from afar to watch their Twitter friends argue an appeal. Overall, Twitter is a great place to connect, learn, and share.
Hashtags to Follow
If you’re new to Twitter, start by following two hashtags: #legalwriting and #appellatetwitter. If you’d like to be involved in the broader writing community, consider following #writingcommunity or #plainlanguage. If you’re interested in legal writing software, be sure to follow #legaltech. For the uninitiated, hashtags are a way to tag Tweets (aka posts) so they may be sorted and discovered by topic.
People to Follow
Here’s my list of legal writing accounts to follow on Twitter, in alphabetical order by last name. No accounts exist primarily to sell you anything or shame your writing. The account owners are real people sharing information and participating in the community.
1. Ken Bresler – @LawWritingCoach
Bresler is a legal writing coach. He taught advanced legal writing at Northeastern University Law School. He is also the author of Mark Twain vs. Lawyers, Lawmakers, and Lawbreakers: Humorous Observations (2014).
2. Prof. Alexa Chew – @aznchew
Chew is a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law and the author of textbook The Complete Legal Writer (2016). I discovered Chew through her insightful discussion of legal citations in three articles: “Citation Literacy,” “Stylish Legal Citation,” and “Citation Stickiness” (with Kevin Bennardo).
3. Prof. Joe Fore – @Joe_Fore
Fore is a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and he is a part of Legal Writing Institute, the second largest organization of law professors in the United States. I found Fore while researching ways to modernize legal writing classes. He wrote “The Comparative Benefits of Standalone Email Assignments in the First-Year Legal Writing Curriculum.”
4. Prof. Rachel Gurvich – @RachelGurvich
Gurvich is a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law and she is the host of Practice Tuesday, a weekly Twitter discussion about the practice of law.
5. Kendyl Hanks – @HanksKendyl
Hanks is trial litigator and appellate advocate with Greenberg Traurig in Texas. She is also the co-founder of the @LadyLawyerDiary Twitter group.
6. Prof. Margaret Hannon – @mch_tweets
Hannon is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Law. She is also an associate editor for Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD, the journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors.
7. Prof. Joe Kimble – @ProfJoeKimble
Kimble is a professor emeritus at WMU—Cooley Law School. He is a well-known plain language advocate and the author of Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please: The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government, and Law (2012). Kimble is the senior editor of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing and the longtime editor of the “Plain Language” column in the Michigan Bar Journal.
8. Prof. Katrina Lee – @katrinajunelee
Lee is a professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law where she writes and presents on the business of law, ethics, and legal writing. She is the author of the textbook The Legal Career: Knowing the Business, Thriving in Practice (2017).
9. Sean Marotta – @smmarotta
Marotta is an appellate lawyer at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C. and is an active member of the #appellatetwitter group.
10. Prof. Ellie Margolis – @EllieMargolis
Margolis is a professor at Temple University Beasley School of Law and she is an expert on appellate brief writing and advocacy. I love her article “Say Goodbye to the Books: Information Literacy as the New Legal Research Paradigm” and her 10 legal writing tips for students.
11. Raffi Melkonian – @RMFifthCircuit
Melkonian is an appellate lawyer at Wright, Close & Barger in Texas and is an active member of the #appellatetwitter group. He maintains a crowd-sourced document of overused crutch words called Words de Doom, which was referenced in So Many Useless Words, So Little Time. He is also the Chair-Elect of the Houston Bar Association’s Federal Practice Section.
12. Prof. Anne Ralph – @aerwrites
Ralph is a professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, where her scholarship focuses on the intersection of law and narrative.
13. Prof. Joe Regalia – @writedotlaw
Regalia is a professor at University of Nevada-Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law where his research and teaching focuses on legal writing, persuasion science, and technology and innovation. He is a prolific writer for various ABA publications and for Law Professor Blogs Network. He is also the founder of Write.Law.
14. Prof. Jennifer Romig – @JenniferMRomig
15. Prof. Beth Wilensky – @bethwilensky
Wilensky is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Law. I discovered her through her article, “When Should We Teach Our Students to Pay Attention to the Costs of Legal Research?”
16. Prof. David Ziff – @djsziff
Ziff is a lecturer at the University of Washington School of Law. I discovered him through his hilarious article about the Bluebook: “Book Review of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation—The Worst System of Citation Except for All the Others“ (2017).
BONUS! Anne Janzer – @AnneJanzer
Janzer is a business writing coach and my new favorite writer. She is the author of Writing To Be Understood and The Workplace Writer’s Process. Both books apply to legal writing and are immensely helpful for managing the writing process in a law firm setting.
Organizations to Follow
While you’re building your community, consider following these two organizations that publish outstanding journals addressing legal writing: past, present, future, pedagogy, and instruction.
1. Legal Communication & Rhetoric – @JALWD
The journal is a publication of the Association of Legal Writing Directors. ALWD is a nonprofit professional association with over 300 members representing over 150 law schools around the world.
2. The Legal Writing Institute – @LWIonline
The Legal Writing Institute is a nonprofit dedicated to improving legal communication and legal writing. Its most well-known publications are The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute and Second Draft.
Looking for More Legal Writing Help?
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- The Value of Concise Legal Writing
- Why Not to Use “Clear” in a Brief
- Examples of Insulting Language to Avoid in a Brief
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About the Author
Ivy B. Grey is the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for WordRake. Prior to joining the team, she practiced bankruptcy law for ten years. In 2018, Ivy was recognized as a Fastcase 50 Honoree and included in the Women of Legal Tech list by the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. Follow Ivy on Twitter @IvyBGrey or connect with her on LinkedIn.