For the legal sector, legal writers and editors create a variety of written materials. Legal writing can take many different forms, including feature articles, web content, legal blogs (or “blawgs”), news reports, and profiles of attorneys. The following list of some of the most typical legal writing styles includes:
- Get a high school diploma or GED. …
- Decide on your ideal type of legal writing. …
- Consider a bachelor’s degree. …
- Think about law education or other legal jobs. …
- Build a portfolio. …
- Knowledge of the legal industry. …
- Writing skills. …
- Research abilities.
What does a legal writer do?
A legal writers responsibilities vary depending on their specialization. Their duties may include:
What is a legal writer?
Technical writers who specialize in writing for the legal sector include legal writers. Technical writers, or authors with specialized knowledge and training, include legal writers. There are many types of legal writers, including:
Certain categories of legal writers produce more technical writing than others. For instance, legal analysts and brief writers frequently create documents that are used in court cases or litigation, such as litigation documents or news analyses. Other legal writers, like bloggers, create content for a more broad audience. The information in the legal writer’s articles must be completely accurate regardless of whether they produce more or less technical documents.
Skills of legal writers
Following are some abilities you may want to consider honing if you want to work as a legal writer:
Knowledge of the legal industry
Legal writers must be highly knowledgeable about the legal sector. Depending on their area of expertise, this may include local and federal laws, court cases, and different legal professions. Legalese, or legal terminology, acronyms, and jargon, are typically also necessary for a legal writer.
A legal writer needs excellent writing skills. They must be able to communicate their ideas and content while adhering to the rules of grammar and other writing conventions. A legal writer should also be familiar with how to format their content according to the style used for that particular type of legal document, such as a will or contract, in order to write more complex legal writing.
Legal writers must continually conduct research related to their writing. A legal author needs to know how to research from reliable sources. When relaying that information, they must do so in their own words and with the correct citations.
Attention to detail
Due to the complexity of the legal field, legal writers must be able to pay close attention to detail. This might entail making sure they properly cite relevant legal texts, outlining earlier court decisions, or demystifying complex legal ideas.
The legal industry has a number of writing standards that legal writers should be aware of. For instance, a legal author who typically writes less technical content might refrain from providing legal advice in their blogs and articles. A legal writer must also pay close attention to formatting and writing conventions, such as using proper spacing and grammar.
A legal writer consults clients or colleagues frequently to ensure that the right kind of content is produced. They employ active listening techniques to understand the demands of their writing assignment and any alterations the client might require before publication. Depending on the type of content they produce, legal writers may also interview witnesses or legal professionals.
Ability to work independently
Although a legal writer may speak with clients or coworkers frequently, they probably work alone on their writing projects the majority of the time. To complete their tasks by the due date without direct supervision, a legal writer needs to be highly motivated and organized. Since many legal writers work from home part- or full-time, they should feel at ease carrying out their duties by themselves.
Many legal writers balance multiple writing projects at once. They may simultaneously research, write and revise several articles. A legal writer needs to be extremely organized to make sure they complete all of their assignments and related tasks on time.
Basic technology skills
Fundamental technological abilities, such as the ability to use word processing software and manage emails, are required of legal writers. A legal author who creates content for the web might also need to be familiar with web design or marketing techniques. A legal blogger, for instance, might use HTML or search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to produce online legal content that is readable and accessible.
Some legal writers may handle confidential information involving legal cases. These authors must be aware of safe information handling practices, such as utilizing cybersecurity tools and systems on their work computers. A legal writer must also be able to write about sensitive topics without leaving out confidential information.
How to become a legal writer
Here are the first five steps to becoming a legal writer:
1. Get a high school diploma or GED
Obtain a GED or the equivalent, such as a high school diploma. Legal writers are typically required to have this credential before being hired by employers who are looking for them. You can develop the written and verbal communication skills necessary for explaining complex legal concepts in simple ways by earning your high school diploma or GED.
2. Decide on your ideal type of legal writing
Determine the legal writing genre you want to specialize in. The steps you take to become a legal writer can be influenced by the type of legal writer you hope to be. Think about whether you’d prefer to write more complex legal documents, like briefs or news summaries, or whether you’d prefer to write legal documents that will aid non-legal professionals in better understanding the law.
You might also consider the kind of job you want to get. While some legal writers are independent contractors, others work full-time for a particular law firm, publication, or business. Corporate and brief writers might find it simpler to land full-time positions. However, legal writers who focus on online content might discover that there are more opportunities for contract or freelancing work.
3. Consider a bachelors degree
Think about getting a bachelors degree. To work as a legal writer, you don’t need a college degree. However, if you have a bachelor’s degree in communications, English, journalism, or a related field, you might find it easier to find a job as a legal writer. This is due to the possibility that some employers may want confirmation that you are capable of articulating complex legal developments, trends, or cases in a clear and concise manner.
4. Think about law education or other legal jobs
Think about enrolling in law school or obtaining training to work as a paralegal, a legal entry-level position. Although they aren’t required to have a legal background, legal writers must have a thorough understanding of laws and the legal sector. You can gain a thorough understanding of current laws, case precedents, legal trends, and other pertinent legal concepts by enrolling in law school or receiving training for an entry-level legal position.
For aspiring legal writers who want to tackle more technical legal writing, such as litigation documents or news analyses, receiving legal education or training may be especially beneficial. Some companies that hire corporate writers, news analysts, and brief writers may prefer that these writers have formal legal training or work experience.
5. Build a portfolio
Create a portfolio of your legal writing. Many potential employers may want to see samples of your legal writing whether you want to work as a full-time or freelance legal writer. As long as you retain ownership of your work and the writing doesn’t contain any confidential information, any sample legal writing pieces you produced while pursuing your education or training are acceptable to include in your portfolio. Consider writing a few blogs or articles about recent legal developments or other less technical documents if you don’t already have any legal writing samples.
Salary and job outlook for legal writers
The working environment for legal writers varies depending on their type of employment and legal specialization, among other factors. Some legal writers work for law firms, governmental organizations that deal with the law, or businesses that deal with the law. Others might work for advertising firms, book publishers, newspapers, or magazines. Despite the fact that many legal writers work from home, some may do so in an office setting. A contract or freelance legal writer may have the chance to travel and work at various clients’ locations.
FAQs about legal writers
Here are some frequently asked questions about legal writers:
How can I do well in legal writing?
Here are some pointers to help you develop as a competent legal writer:
How long is a legal writing sample?
If a legal writing sample is required as part of your job application, pick one that is eight to 20 pages long. Without giving them an overwhelming amount of information to read, this length can assist prospective employers in evaluating your ability to produce high-quality technical writing. Before submitting, make sure your writing sample has clear and consistent formatting.
What is a technical writer?
Technical writers create written content that enables people without specialized knowledge to more easily access complex information. Legal writers are one type of technical writer. Scientific, user manuals, business plans, and IT or software are additional types.
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Is legal writing a good career?
Legal writing positions are among the highest-paying writing positions available. While many people benefit or need a law degree, not everyone does. And if you write well and have excellent legal research skills, you can get a job in legal writing. The majority of the workforce no longer works in traditional offices.
How can I learn to write legal?
- Take Classes. …
- Use Outlines. …
- Read Challenging Material. …
- Write Concisely. …
- Never Use The First Draft. …
- Always Proofread Several Times. …
- Ask Someone To Review Your Work. …
- Have A Good Topic Sentence.
Do law firms need writers?
Simply put, legal content writers are ghostwriters who produce content for law firm websites as well as articles that could support off-site SEO initiatives.