Saturday, February 12, 2011
Every time my legal writing students start to work on a research and writing project, I insist they return to two basic concepts that they worked on as undergraduates in freshman comp (or, in 10th grade English, if they had a good teacher): audience and purpose. After all, it's hard to know what to write about and how to write it if you don't know who you're writing to and why you're writing. I often point out that one of the challenges of legal writing is the multiple audiences who will be reading their writing, and as a class we'll discuss the reading goals of each possible audience for a particular document. But today as I was reading a post on Inside Straight, I realized there is one audience I've been neglecting to discuss with my students: in-house counsel. So in the future I'll be adding those readers, too, to the list of audiences my students need to be aware of. Oh, and if you happen to be an academic and you check out that post, read the comments and you'll remember why you chose the academy.