Paralegals and paralegal students often have difficulty developing their writing skills to the level expected in the legal industry.
Legal professionals rely heavily on both verbal and written communication, so writing skills are essential for both lawyers, paralegals, and legal secretaries.
Because the other employees in a law firm will not tolerate inadequate writing skills, all paralegals need to learn to write in a concise and precise manner with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. But how do they acquire those skillw?
In this episode of The Paralegal Voice, I interview Virginia (Ginny) Koerselman Newman, attorney and paralegal educator, about the importance of proper legal writing for paralegals and how they can improve their skills. Ginny provided the following tips:
- Start by writing down everything you can think of regarding the case then choose only the important facts later to adapt to a legal framework;
- Take classes on structure, grammar, and punctuation;
- Purchase “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White; and
- Practice! Use a practice textbook, edit mistakes in a magazine, and keep a daily journal.
She concedes that learning to write is particularly difficult, especially since technology has made us complacent, but it is better to improve your ability now than struggle throughout your paralegal career.
Ginny finishes the podcast with tips for demonstrating writing skills through a resume, cover letter, and a developed portfolio.
Follow this link to access this important free resource.
Virginia Koerselman Newman, Esq. graduated from the Creighton University School of Law and practiced for many years in banking and commercial litigation in Omaha, Nebraska before she “attempted” to retire in South Carolina. Before Law School, she worked as a paralegal for a number of years and was the first CLA in the state of Nebraska. Koerselman Newman is a frequent speaker at seminars and workshops and has authored, co-authored, and edited several other paralegal texts, study guides, and instructor manuals. She teaches communications, legal research, estates, and legal analysis at NALA school for paralegals.
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