Legal writing is the least famous among the writing niches. Many people think it is a job only for lawyers or legal professionals.
Well, that’s not an absolute truth. You don’t have to be a lawyer or work in the judiciary to become a legal writer.
What’s Legal Writing?
Legal writing is a type of technical writing that involves the production of explicit written content relating to the legal industry. Legal professionals use this type of writing for legal analyses, such as laws, duties, and rights expression.
Examples of legal writing jobs are as follows:
Brief writers – Their job is to conduct research and prepare legal writings such as briefs, motions, or memoranda.
Legal Analysts are to provide a summary of news and case laws and analyze industry events.
Legal Correspondents – They cover and assess new developments in the legal sector.
Feature writers – Their task is to compose essays or articles about the legal system for print and online publications.
Corporate writers – They produce business documents such as reports, press releases, brochures, presentations, etc., for the legal industry.
Legal writers help the public and other professionals in the legal field to write clearly about things related to the law. You need to understand what legal writing entails and the measures required before you can take on legal writing jobs.
This post covers what legal writers are, how to become one, what abilities they might improve upon, and how much money they make annually.
How to Become a Legal Writer
As mentioned earlier, you don’t need a law degree to become a legal writer. At the same time, you’ll need more than being a regular content writer to do legal writing. Being a skilled writer is not enough.
Firstly, you’ll need to be familiar with basic legal terms. And you might even need to take some law courses to qualify for the more technical positions. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet these requirements now. There’s always room and time for self-development.
Skills Required of a Legal Writer
Consider developing these skills if you want to become a legal writer.
1. Writing Skill
A legal writer needs to be a good writer. You must be able to communicate your ideas and substance while maintaining proper grammar and other writing standards. For more complex legal writing, you should be able to write quality content while adhering to the format for that particular legal document, such as a will or contract, to write more complex legal writing.
2. Acquire Knowledge of the Industry
As a legal writer, you need to have adequate knowledge of the legal field. Depending on your area of interest, this could include state and federal laws, court cases, and various legal professions. Also, you should be able to write and interpret legal jargon, terminologies, and acronyms.
3. Ability to Conduct Research
Legal writers are required to perform continuous research for their work. You must know how to find reliable sources of information. Then, you must, in your own words, retell the report citing the appropriate authorities.
4. Pay Attention to Details
Due to the complexity of the legal industry, a legal writer should be able to pay attention to details. You should cite the correct law codes, explain the rulings in similar past cases, and simplify complex legal concepts.
Legal writers need to be aware of the numerous writing styles specific to the legal industry. For example, legal writer who often produces less technical content should refrain from giving legal advice in their blogs and articles. A legal writer must know formatting requirements, grammar conventions, and other writing-related issues.
5. Be Self-Motivated
You may spend most of your time working alone as a freelance legal writer but communicate with clients occasionally. You’ll need to be highly self-motivated and well-organized to be able to complete tasks and meet up with deadlines. Since you’ll probably work from home, you should be able to work independently without direct supervision.
From applying for the job to completing the task, you’ll have to communicate with the client or job owner to ensure you produce the right content. You’ll need active listening and communication skills to understand the client’s requirements for the project.
Depending on the type of legal writing you want to produce, you may also need to communicate with other legal professionals. You need good writing and communication skills to perform well as a legal writer.
7. Basic Computer Knowledge
We are in the era of advanced technology. You’ll need basic computer knowledge to carry out legal writing tasks. You need to learn how to use applications such as word documents and manage emails.
Where to get legal writing jobs
Where to get legal writing jobs is the same as any other writing niche. All you need is to start small and develop gradually. Your goals should be first to gather experience and be confident with your skills.
Check for legal writing jobs on websites such as Upwork, LinkedIn, Flexjobs, Law Crossing, and other freelancing platforms. You can also apply for legal writing jobs at law firms, government portals, or websites that provide legal services.
If, in the past, you’ve seen offers for legal writers but ignored them because you don’t know anything about legal writing. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. That’s in the past now. With what you’ve learned in this article, you should work towards becoming a legal writer.
Since legal writing is a unique niche, so few freelancers offer it. There’s less competition, and you can easily reach the top as a freelance legal writer.