Question: How do I improve?
A lawyer sent me this question.
- If I am not a great writer, what types of things would you recommend to improve upon this skill?
I think mainly two things will help you improve, and they are equally important.
- Study. You must study the principles of good writing, and you must keep studying consistently. I say every lawyer should have two or three writing guides in the office and should read a book on legal writing every year. If you really want to improve, read a few each year.
- Practice. You must try what you are learning. You must experiment, and you must be critical of your own work, measuring it against the standards in the books you are studying.
Some say say you should seek critique and welcome candid suggestions for improving your writing. This I agree with, and it is perhaps part of practicing. But please get the critique from someone knowledgeable--someone who has read the sources on good writing.