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Why are writing skills essential to being a good lawyer?

Writing skills can be defined as the ability to articulate ones thoughts effectively through the medium of writing. Law schools across the globe place a great emphasis on developing the writing skills of students, but why are writing skills seen as being essential, to being a good lawyer? This essay will answer that question. The capacity to express thoughts, legal opinions and conclusions is a fundamental aspect of being a good lawyer. Words are a lawyers tools, so in all aspects of a lawyers work, words are chosen cautiously. Whether drafting a legal document or simply writing a response to an inquiry, a lawyer has to write in a clear and concise manner. Ambiguity in a lawyers writing can lead to an array of possible interpretations and, in law, this is undesirable. In court, a lawyer must debate with the opposition, often using pre-written material. Writing skills aid a lawyer in expressing her legal arguments. With good writing skills, a lawyer can deliver all of the key points of her argument, in a persuasive manner. If she can express all of her arguments in a precise and concise way, it improves the chances of her winning her case. As this shows, having the ability to express legal arguments well, through writing, is very important to being a good lawyer. Aside from the preparation of courtroom speeches, writing skills are necessary in drafting legal documentation. An example of this would be a patent lawyer creating a patent for a client. She must write in such a way as to make sure there are no holes in the patent, as it would then be redundant. In addition, writing skills play a major role in the drafting of contracts. The words of a contract are legally binding, so people usually hire experienced lawyers to draft them. This is because experienced lawyers tend to have a very high standard of writing, so undesirable flaws can be avoided. The term writing skills also includes good grammar and punctuation in its meaning. An example of the importance of punctuation is evident in the American punctuation v. smudge debate. This debate was born from the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. It states nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. Some people believe the comma following the word use in the original draft of the constitution was a smudge, not a comma. If this were the case, the meaning of the quoted clause would change drastically. In conclusion, writing skills are essential to being a good lawyer because they allow lawyers to express ideas and legal opinions, convey arguments and avoid any ambiguity in their work. A good lawyer does not make mistakes when creating legal writing, and good writing skills can eliminate mistakes.