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One would just assume that legal professionals would make great legal writers because they have the subject knowledge. However, in most of the cases this does not hold true. Attorneys spend so much time reading court opinions and legal documents that their writing starts reflecting the same style. They just cannot avoid using gratuitous phrases and find it extremely difficult to keep their writing simple and succinct. Your writing needs to be such that everyone is able to understand your points. Word choice and sentence construction have to be perfect. Sloppy word choice and lazy sentence construction often lead to clutter in the sentence which doesn’t come across strongly. Since communication is the need of the day in every field and profession, legal writers are also in great demand.
The job of a legal writer would basically involve producing writing material for the legal industry. You could be a feature writer, Web writer, legal analyst, brief writer, or legal editor to name just a few profiles you could opt for. A legal writer could write for a lot of things. Some of the writing which a legal writer does includes:
Anybody with good grasp of the subject and language can become a legal writer, although a degree in communications or journalism would help. A law degree could be an added advantage in some sectors, but not necessarily.
Apart from having a good grasp of the subject, a legal writer should have the ability to present his or her ideas in clear, logical, and concise form. He or she should have a real interest in the subject and have in-depth knowledge of the legal industry, along with superior research skills. Since today we live in the online world, most of writing is needed for the Web and therefore a legal writer will be more comfortable if he or she is familiar with SEO, HTML, and other online content management systems.
Job prospects are plentiful in this field. You could join a publishing house, magazine, or law firm, or do your own freelancing. This profession is expected to grow at a very fast rate. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of writers and editors is expected to grow by 10 percent, or about as fast as the average for all occupations, from 2006 to 2016. Communication is the talk of the day and the majority of companies are using this as a tool to promote their company. Magazines, newsletters, websites, online publications, blogs, and many other communication tools are being used by companies for their promotion. Hence writers and editors are definitely going to be in great demand.
More so writers with specialization in fields like law, medicine, etc. are much sought after. With technology being updated every day in all fields, more skilled writers who are familiar with the subject are needed to write.
Median annual earnings for salaried writers and authors were $48,640 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,850 and $67,820. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,430, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $97,700 as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With the demand for skilled writers increasing, you can always choose this as your career option. If you have a knack for writing and a genuine interest in law, with little practice you could easily become a well-known, much sought-after legal writer.
Tips on becoming a great writer
Choose a topic with which you are familiar.
Don’t write about legal issues which you don’t understand.
Do extensive research on the topic before you start writing.
Understand legal terminologies well.
Cross check all the facts and laws you used in your article.
Don’t give any legal advice if you don’t have a legal background.
Focus on your audience.
Organize well so that the article is readable.
Avoid jargon. Use simple and straight-forward language.
Omit extra words. Each word you write should convey a meaning.
Avoid the passive voice and use action words.
Edit and proof well before you submit any work.
Please see the following articles for more information about law professorships: