Legal Attorney’s Journal is a newsletter that highlights current legal developments and issues. Its articles are authored by attorneys and legal professionals who specialize in specific practice areas.
To hiring partners, membership in a law review is a credential that speaks volumes. It demonstrates writing skill, critical thinking, gumption, dedication and time management.
Legal research is a vital part of any lawyer’s job. It allows them to find and analyze case law, statutes, legislative acts and other authoritative sources. It also helps them identify areas where further research is needed. While researching can be a time-consuming process, it is necessary to be able to locate and interpret the law effectively in order to be successful as an attorney.
There is a reason that entire law school courses and countless books are dedicated to legal research methodology. It is a complex and constantly evolving process, which requires careful attention to detail. As a result, most attorneys will spend their careers honing their research skills.
The first step in legal research is identifying the controlling jurisdiction. This is critical as it can save you time by eliminating irrelevant cases and sources. For instance, a court opinion from a Washington state supreme court will be irrelevant if your project deals with New York state law.
Once you have identified the controlling jurisdiction, your next step is to clearly articulate the legal issue that needs to be researched. This will help you narrow down your search results and identify the types of resources you need to rely on.
For example, if your legal question concerns a particular statute or section of code, you will need to rely on secondary sources like legal encyclopedias, practice guides and treatises. These will allow you to gain a thorough understanding of the issue before moving on to primary sources like cases and regulations.
It is important to keep a record of all the sources you rely on during your research. This will not only help you organize your thoughts and ideas, but will also make it easier to reference these sources later on in your work. For this reason, many lawyers will use a bullet journal to keep track of their research.
Once you’ve done your background research, it’s time to start your actual work on the paper. This can be a tedious and time-consuming process, but it is a crucial component of the writing process. Often, this involves a lot of citation checking, which is something that every attorney must master throughout their career.
Legal writing is a key component of becoming a paralegal or attorney. Whether preparing a memo to a supervisor, or writing a brief for a judge, effective writing is essential. Several resources are available for improving your legal writing skills, including legal writing books and online writing tools.
The Michigan Bar Journal features a monthly Plain Language column, featuring a range of topics including legal-writing tips and strategies. The column is written by a variety of authors, including practicing attorneys, judges and law professors. The column is available online and in PDF format.
Lawyers often struggle with drafting concise, clear and organized documents. To improve the quality of their work, it can help to have an app like WordRake. This tool helps users create readable, concise documents by highlighting redundant words and suggesting alternatives. It also offers suggestions for better punctuation and spelling.
Another resource for improving legal writing is The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law. This textbook is a valuable tool for both lawyers and students interested in the relationship between language and law. It covers a wide range of topics and provides an overview of the most important issues in this area.
Taking a cue from journalism, a basic story structure is an important element of legal writing. Lawyers should always tell the story of their client’s case in a clear and concise manner, using non-technical terms whenever possible. The story should have a beginning, middle and end. A good ending can make a big difference in how a case is perceived by the judge.
To improve the clarity of their writing, legal writers should “frontload” their documents. This technique focuses readers’ attention at the outset of lengthy writing. For example, a brief might begin with the following paragraph: “The plaintiff asserts that…”
As you write, remember to avoid common errors such as excessive use of givens, lengthy quotations and string citations. These errors will not only make your writing less readable but may be subject to sanctions by the court or tribunal. Moreover, be sure to proofread your document before submitting it.
The editing process is designed to perfect the author’s vision and not replace it with our own. We aim to make the article stronger in substance and more polished in tone while still ensuring that its text and footnotes conform to the most recent edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. This is accomplished through a rigorous multi-step editing process, which begins with a thorough source collection and concludes with the submission of the final manuscript to the editor-in-chief for publication.
ELJ’s editorial team is made up of students and faculty who read each article and book review submitted to the journal in order to select the most appropriate ones for publication. This process is led by the editor-in-chief, who typically is a 3L and assumes ultimate responsibility for all aspects of ELJ’s operations. The editor-in-chief coordinates all editorial activities, interfacing with the board of editors, article editors, and book review editors. The editor-in-chief also establishes the editing schedule, performs the final edit of each article before it is published, and recruits new members to ELJ.
While there is much debate over which style and grammar guides are the best, it is important for lawyers to spend time each week reading and studying these resources in order to build up their knowledge of the rules of grammar and style. This will help them to be more successful in their editing of other people’s writing.
Stylistic editing focuses on the overall structure of the writing and includes examining paragraph and sentence length, reviewing the use of topic sentences and transition phrases, removing unnecessary words and parenthetical statements, and eliminating legal jargon. It also involves ensuring that all factual and legal claims are supported by proper citations and that the citations are in the correct legal authority.
Finally, grammatical editing focuses on the language of the writing and is aimed at identifying and correcting any errors in punctuation, word usage, or spelling. This is a highly tedious process and depends largely on the editor’s familiarity with the various grammar guides. Lawyers who take the time to read these guides regularly will be more successful at this stage of editing.
Attorney At Law Journal publishes articles written by lawyers and law students on a variety of topics that are relevant to the practice of law. The articles are intended to be informative, thought-provoking, and educational. They are not a substitute for legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in signed material are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Missouri Bar or the Journal.
The article writing process is time intensive and requires a lot of effort to get it right. To avoid making mistakes that can hurt your chances of getting published, it’s important to review the submission guidelines for each law review you are targeting. You can do this by visiting each law review’s “For Authors” page and reviewing their article selection criteria, citation style expectations (including the Bluebook), submission deadlines, and other details about their publication process.
Once you have all your ducks in a row, it’s time to begin the submission process. It’s a good idea to follow each law review’s submission guidelines closely and ensure that your submission file is formatted according to the journal’s requirements. You should also check for any article style guidelines or other special instructions, such as file anonymization specifications to prevent implicit bias in the selection process, which many law reviews now have in place.
During this stage, it’s also important to make your article as appealing as possible to the journal editors. Anecdotally, submissions that are customized to each law review seem to have a better chance of being selected for publication. This includes tailoring the abstract and introduction, which are often the first things that editors see in an article. Try to avoid sounding overly hysterical or overly flattering – editors can tell the difference between genuine enthusiasm for a piece and attempts at manipulation.
As you continue the submissions process, it’s also a good idea to stay in contact with the journals that you are interested in by using their preferred methods of communication. This way, you’ll be less likely to miss any important updates or information. For example, if a journal uses Scholastica to manage submissions, you should use the system to send your expedite requests and responses to decisions, instead of sending an email directly to the editor. This will help your communications stand out among the sea of other emails that editors receive during submission season.