Good Writers Embrace the Revision Process

            The legal writing process is fairly straightforward -- identify the issue, research the rule, outline the analysis, draft the document, revise, and proof. Unfortunately, too few attorneys (and law students) respect the value of the revision process. Revising takes time, and time is money. But good results also are money.

            The pillars of sound legal writing are structure, style, and format. Rare is the writer who can build those pillars well in only a draft or two. Revising almost always is necessary, and it's a skill unto itself. It demands attention from the perspective of the sentence, paragraph and document. It’s also subject to the recursive nature of writing, meaning that revision occurs both during and after a given draft.

            Thankfully, there’s plenty of terrific help on the web for the new or weak writer. Consider some of these sources, just to name a few:;;

            Lawyering is a blood sport. Producing effective work product is your weapon, and strong revision skills prepare you for battle. Embrace it as an opportunity to transform ink on paper into useful predictions or winning arguments.

“The letter I have written today is longer than usual because I lacked the time to make it shorter."  Blaise Pascal

          “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”  James A. Michener

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”  Thomas Jefferson

            Effective legal writing is well supported, easily understood, concise, accurate, reliable, and useful. For the most part, those goals are achieved during the revision process. That takes time. And effort.