Writing Tips for the Summer

Norm Yallen (2L)

I know some of you folks are going to be doing jobs this summer. Whether it is professional rock climbing or working in a law office, you are probably going to need to write stuff. They claim to teach writing here in LRW, Advanced LRW, and LRW Deluxe Supersoaker Edition 3000, but those are for nerds. I write some stuff here, and I know how to wryte [sic] a thing or two. Here is how to write in the real world.

Try to write exclusively in second person: You might think this is an outlandish idea, but you would be very wrong. When you write in second person you build an immediate connection with the reader (you).

Preface any opinion by calling it a “hot take”: This way, if someone disagrees, you can just say you were being challenging and provocative. They probably just did not understand your innovative and controversial mind. You cannot be held liable for any opinion if it is a hot take.

Use a thesaurus: The bigger the word, the smarter you are. Or the further capacious the locution, the more ingenious you are.

Be concise: Does the person you are writing to really need to know that much? Instead of writing an entire memo on the law, try doing a simple haiku. I tried to do a haiku for this, but it was kind of hard so I gave up, which is a good attitude to take when writing.

Abbreviate: Write any memo the way you would an MSN chat from when you were ten years old. Why say ‘really’ when you can say ‘rly’? “Our client might end up going to prison, laugh out loud” does not have the same ring to it as “Our client may end up going to prison LOL.”

Use the words “derivative” or “tautological”: These two words win any argument. The context doesn’t matter. You can use these words as a substitute for citing and researching any Supreme Court case.

Refer to the client creatively: It is boring to refer to the client as,“the client” or “Mr. Smith.” Instead try something new and different like calling your client“Jerry Ferrara (the guy who played Turtle on Entourage).” A boring sentence is, “Our client likely has no legal liability”; an interesting sentence is, “Jerry Ferrara (the guy who played Turtle on Entourage) likely has no legal liability.”