A law student or budding lawyer spent much time on writing or drafting but they may turn to be a successful professional only after becoming the master in effective writing. No one can excel in legal profession in absence of good legal writing skill. The language of Indian courts, its style and format are not indigenous. So the language of law has always been a matter of expertise. A trained legal professional know to communicate the fact and law effectively in writing to the person who is entitled to give relief.
An advocate gets very limited time in the courtroom and the case is mainly communicated through documents. A former third circuit chief judge Ruggero Aldisert of the USA said "the judge does not possess the luxury of time for leisurely, detached meditation. You'd better sell the sizzle as soon as possible; the steak can wait." It should be the goal of every advocate to sell the sizzle from the early age of profession. Skilled legal writing is sine qua non and it results in effective communication and enhances professionalism and reputation. Lack of skilled writing makes to suffer advocate, client, judicial system and ultimately society.
Legal writing is a compulsory component of law graduate courses in India but developing a good legal writing skill is a never ending process. Any skill requires learning resources, guidance and training. A very few learning resources are available on art of legal writing and most of them are curriculum based. It is the need of the time that there must be some resource which can fill the gap of curriculum and professional need. I am delighted to see that the book 'The Art of Legal Writing: Practicing Lawyer to Successful Professional' written by Ms. Richa Kachhwaha as a great connecting link of this long existing gap. This book will reveal the craft behind the art of writing. It is an outcome of good research on nuances of legal writing and practical difficulties faced by the young lawyers.
This book is an exceptional contribution on the subject. Prof.(Dr.) Mool Chand Sharma and Late Prof. Shamnaad Basheer wrote emphatic and compendious 'Forewords'. Prof.(Dr.) Mool Chand Sharma explicated the 'real time value' concept from the perspective of legal professional and skilled legal writing is a good tool for it. He also discussed the importance of legal writing in great detail. Late Prof. Shamnaad Basheer emphasised the utilitarian as well as aesthetic perspective of legal writing and explain the apathy done to this subject by law schools. In preface, the author explains the objective of the book by making difference between legal language and common language and recounts the plain language movement in legal writing in common law countries. She expounds the importance given to legal writing in foreign law schools and Indian law schools and if focused properly then it may be a game changer in helping young lawyers to become effective writers or drafters. The work is divided into ten chapters which are elaborated in two forty six pages.
First chapter of the book is 'The Fundamental of Legal Writing'. It focuses on the basic understanding of a writer and basic principles of legal writing. The author discusses the essentials of a good writer like observance, inquiring mind to look for answer, remembering, analysing critically and sensitiveness. She describes the basic principles of legal writing. Writing should be precise, clear, concrete and organised. These elements are explained properly with suitable examples which make a reader more perceptive.
The second chapter 'Conciseness in Writing' illustrates the methodology of concise and precise writing. It emphasise on plane, simple and concise writing from the perspective of perceivers. Writers are like craftsman, there must be clarity in their craft. The author tried in best possible way to discuss the various nuances of concise writing like from selection of words to sentence framing and explained with numerous examples. It is a well-articulated chapter which emphasised the power of preciseness.
In the next chapter three, 'Creating Macro Clarity' has been discussed. It is about structure or framework of writing like organisation of fact with issue, legal rules, analysis and conclusion. It also elaborates about the layout of writing pattern and development of authentic writing style. The chapter four 'Nuances of Micro Clarity: Of Sentences and Words' is extension of chapter three and focus on micro clarity. It concentrates on crafting of sentences, scripting and use of proper words and tone.
The chapter five 'The Art of Persuasion in Legal Writing' emphasises the essence of legal writing i.e persuasive writing. It explains the formula to achieve the 'brevity is the soul of wit' in legal writing which requires details description and analysis. The author tries to explain the balance between brevity and complete communication in legal brief. An advocate should be master in persuasive writing so that content may hold reader's attention. Various techniques relating to these factors are discussed in great details which make this book much relevant to young professionals and law students.
The chapter six 'Written Advocacy: A Hidden Art' is next stage learning of legal drafting. It deals with the different stages of the process of legal writing and learning the art related to it. There is always a huge gap in class room learning and practice in legal education. This part focuses on certain fundamental problem of written advocacy and guides the reader to overcome with this. It deals with making pleading drafting more effective including point of considerations and citing some examples. The next chapter seven 'Transactional Drafting: Of Language and Style' is about specific kind of drafting as its name suggest. The transactional/corporate practice is one the core area of legal profession. Transactional lawyers need special training to draft and review the contracts and the author has discussed about its nuances in detail under this chapter.
The chapter eight is about In-house lawyering skill and role of technology. It suggests about in-house counsel legal writing requires more attention in complex business structure which are these days spread over diverse legal system and languages. The author has elucidated the impact of artificial intelligence on legal drafting which is going to change the legal industry in next two decades drastically. This chapter is worth reading for young professional to equip themselves with changing time and technology and be ready for new opportunities and responsibilities.
'Elegance and Eloquence in Legal Writing' is the ninth chapter. It is about the aesthetic part of the writing. The aesthetic writing requires various expressions, analogy, metaphors, eloquence etc. Elegance imparts an artistic quality to the writing that goes beyond its functional role. This is a kind of giving a fine tune to legal draft to convey complex information to make quick decision. This chapter tells the learners to make their drafting different from others. And the last chapter is 'Wrapping Up: Revising, Editing & Residual Examples'. It talks about the final editing and revision. The residual examples are very informative and helpful on the subject.