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Mastering communication and writing skills are essential for paralegals. Part of a paralegal’s job is to communicate with clients, opposing counsel, and the courts. Paralegal work also includes doing legal research, writing and drafting legal documents (pleadings to be filed with the court), and drafting internal documents (legal memorandums).
Here are five ways to become a confident legal writer and communicator:
Good communication and writing for paralegals come only from practice – there’s no shortcut to becoming a great writer. Spend some time researching online resources to improve your legal writing, broaden your skills, and learn tips to improve your writing.
2. Seek Feedback
Asking for feedback is a good way to improve your writing. Seek feedback from a legal professional at your firm or someone outside your organization. Seeking feedback from co-workers can also help strengthen your workplace relationships.
3. Re-check your work
When it comes to legal documents, every word is critical. While mistakes happen, maintaining credibility is integral. Fact-checking your work is essential to ensure that you are communicating correctly.
4. Check Your Grammar
Grammatically correct writing is also critical in paralegal communication and writing. Following grammatical conventions helps you maintain credibility and will ensure your writing is clear and concise.
These reference books on grammar are an excellent place to start: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (Lynn Truss) will help you understand and apply proper punctuation.
The Elements of Legal Style (Bryan A. Garner): This book is essential for helping you with word choice and grammar and gained praise as one of the best books for the legal profession. Remember, improving your reading and writing skills requires time, perfect practice, and repetition.
5. Keep Current
Schedule time each week reading legal news to stay current with court rulings. By concentrating on defining and researching any term or legal principle that you don’t understand, you will greatly enhance your learning process.
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