Improve your contract writing skills

Everyone prefers plain language – your clients expect and want it from their advisers, their business partners, their regulatory authorities and also from their lawyers.

But the skills to write plainly are uncommon, and the tools and techniques need to be learnt and practiced (and bad habits erased).

Bad Habits

If you think that your writing is pretty good – plain, simple and user-friendly – take a look at some of these blogs which might make you think again:

Make A Decision

The first stage to really improve your legal writing is to become a plain language organisation. Your bosses must consciously decide that plainer language will benefit your clients.

Once that decision is made, then it depends on how it is put into practice. Some ideas include:

  • developing internal guides and creating know-how on plain writing
  • starting a debate on writing skills within your business
  • running workshops demonstrating new skills, behaviours and know-how tools
  • adopting a top-down cultural shift towards plain language
  • training staff using software tools (eg MS Word’s readability data or Editor’s Software Style Writer) to nudge you to improve your drafting and writing skills
  • creating internal projects to rewrite existing documents in plain language.

Plain language will create more satisfied clients, stimulate innovation and give you more confidence in your communication abilities.

Improving Your Skills

There are thousands of global experts on plain language across a wide range of organisations. Bryan Garner (a leading US authority on plain legal writing) recommends that you need

the stamina and self-confidence to seek and appreciate others’ editing or rewriting of your own work. Don’t fall into the trap of discounting it as just ego-destroying make-work by sadists bent on crushing you. Everyone—everyone—needs editing.

If you specifically want to prepare contracts and legal documents, then you can improve your skills through:

What should you do?

If you’d like me to help your staff write using plain language then contact me and I will share my simple process – called WRITE – to help you create better documents for your business.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment