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Legal writing refers generally to the analysis of fact patterns and presentation of arguments in legal memos and briefs. The vast majority of legal internships and permanent positions will require the deployment of legal writing skills. Those working in settings where client-based or impact litigation are the principal focus will draft and file legal briefs that coherently present their side’s written arguments to the court. Certain positions might entail the drafting of predictive memos, which anticipate the arguments of opposing counsel. Even non-litigation positions may require you to research a legal question, analyze the relevant legal precedents, and present an answer in a memo. Work in academia may involve not only writing for scholarly publications but also teaching law students the basics of legal writing and citation. Some larger government agencies and non-profit organizations may also hire someone to provide legal writing training to new hires or to oversee their legal publications.

Day-to-Day Activities

  • Drafting briefs and memos.
  • Presenting written arguments in support of a client.
  • Applying legal reasoning and analysis to a fact pattern.
  • Researching and incorporating relevant legal precedents.
  • Training new hires in the legal writing style preferred by the organization.
  • Acting as a writer or editor of legal publications.

Practice Settings

  • Academia
  • Government (Federal, State, and Local)
  • Interest/Advocacy Organizations
  • Legal Services
  • Private Practice
  • Prosecution
  • Public Defense
  • Unions

Skill Set Required

  • Exceptionally strong writing and legal citation skills
  • Thorough grasp of grammatical and style conventions
  • Close attention to detail
  • Logical reasoning skills
  • Persuasive abilities