Writing Tips

Legal Writing

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How to Irritate Clients (Part 2 of 3)

Introduce your research.

After we explain to a client how we organized our memorandum, invariably we tell the client all about the different sources we used in our research. To the client it sounds like:

You know all this cool information I’m about to give you? I found it in some books and stuff.

Unless a client asks you to confine your research to one jurisdiction, one authority, or one narrow area of law, do not tell your client that you referred to [laundry list of various sources] to arrive at your conclusion. Give the client only what you found, and offer a citation.

For instance:

Based on my review of the 1955 City Right of Way, applicable statutes and legislative history, the 1955 City Right of Way was entered into consistent with existing law . . . .

Here’s all the client wants:

Based on my review of the 1955 City Right of Way, applicable statutes and legislative history, The 1955 City Right of Way was entered into consistent with existing law . . . .

And another:

Based upon my review of the termination provisions and California law, it is unlikely that Salty’s could successfully argue that it terminated Kingen for cause under his Employment Agreement.

Your clients assume you looked in the right place; they just want the answer:

Based upon my review of the termination provisions and California law, It is unlikely that Salty’s could successfully argue that it terminated Kingen for cause under his Employment Agreement.

Or even better:

If Salty’s argues that it terminated Kingen for cause, it will probably fail.

When you write extraneous words in your memoranda, your clients must read more and work harder to understand.

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About Gary Kinder

Gary Kinder

WordRake founder Gary Kinder has taught over 1,000 writing programs for AMLAW 100 firms, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author. As a writing expert and coach, Gary was inspired to create WordRake when he noticed a pattern in writing errors that he thought he could address with technology.

In 2012, Gary and his team of engineers created WordRake editing software to help writers produce clear, concise, and effective prose. It saves time and gives confidence. Writing and editing has never been easier.

WordRake takes you beyond the merely grammatical to the truly great—the quality editor you’ve always wanted. See for yourself.

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How Does it Work?

WordRake is editing software designed by writing expert and New York Times bestselling author Gary Kinder. Like an editor or helpful colleague, WordRake ripples through your document checking for needless words and cumbersome phrases. Its complex algorithms find and improve weak lead-ins, confusing language, and high-level grammar and usage slips.

WordRake runs in Microsoft Word and Outlook, and its suggestions appear in the familiar track-changes style. If you’ve used track changes, you already know how to use WordRake. There’s nothing to learn and nothing to interpret. Editing for clarity and brevity has never been easier.