Monday, January 1, 2018

Writing Tips for Legal Academics

At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Professor Rachel Toor gives advice to new professors who have just finished getting their degrees. The same advice applies to law professors. Most of us are acquainted with most of this advice, but may still need a reminder. We might be surprised at how many of our colleagues in the non-Legal Writing field could use this advice. Here are the headlines:

  • As you write, imagine an actual reader.
  • Write the way you teach.
  • Whose prose do you love? Think about scholarly work you find pleasurable to read. Steal their moves.
  • Write so someone who knows you will recognize your voice.
  • Remember what initially interested you in your topic.
  • Tell a story.
  • Search for — and destroy — pretentious language.
  • Clarity is a good thing. Cut as much as you can. Make sure your sentences are not too long, too short, or too similar. Vacuum out junk phrases. Omit needless words by using simple editing tricks.
  • Start your revisions with a new blank document. Re-vision: See again.
  • Use technology.
  • Realize that four chapters are not enough for a book. It must also read like a book.

You can read more here.


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These are excellent writing suggestions. I especially like the tip about "Re-vision" what you write. Academic writers should pay close attention to these guidelines, even keeping the list next to them during the drafting process.

Posted by: Emil A. Ricci | Jan 3, 2018 4:30:35 AM

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