What is the best source of good brief writing tips?

Scribes, the American Society of Legal Writers, often sends grammar, writing, drafting and other tips to its members and each one is a jewel. It seems like every day or two I get one of these email tips and each one is to the point and worth repeating to new associates and young attorneys - actually anyone who writes legal documents of any kind and wants to stay on top of their game.

For instance, today's grammar tip came from Ann Taylor Schwing and is a brief guideline on how to use bullet points. "Often a listing of specific items need not or should not be numbered. Numbers may incorrectly indicate a hierarchy or ordering of the items. In these cases, bullets work well."

She is right, of course, but in spite of the hundreds and hundreds of legal documents I have written, drafted, and filed in courts all over the country, it never occurred to me that there was a logical and good reason not to number items in a list. She goes on to explain how to make bullet points read well and be recalled well. Her tip is well worth a read --- but then again every tip from Scribes is well worth a read.

Scribes membership is open to all attorneys and their avowed purpose is to clear, succinct and forceful style in legal writing. Membership cost is remarkably inexpensive too (just $65 a year).

This started out to be just a pointer on where you can get some terrific tips on legal writing style but perhaps has turned into an endorsement of Scribes membership. Take it as you will, but Scribes writing tips (and Scribes itself) is a terrific source and reminder of how to improve and keep your writing quality at its top level. We would gladly pay $65 a year just to get their constant emailed writing tips. The rest of the membership benefits are bonuses.

Ronald L Burdge
Helping attorneys do better for more than 25 years