Legal Writing Skills: The Seven Deadly Sins of Legal Writing

Production Date: February 25, 2017 Practice Areas: Legal Research & Writing and Bridge the Gap Estimated Length: 4539 minutes


$ 89 Legal Research & Writing and Bridge the Gap In Stock

If you’re a lawyer you’re a professional writer.

You might spend time on the phone, on Skype, etc. Nevertheless, what most of us do most of our working lives is write—letters, memos, briefs, email, wills, contracts, etc.

But being a professional anything is no guarantee of quality. And the legal profession nurtures terrible prose. Jargon, verbosity, pomposity, opacity, and obliquity have traditionally been hallmarks of what passes for good legal writing. Lawyers who want to become better writers often feel trapped. Why write clear, cogent prose if so few others are doing it? Why flout the industry standard?

No single course can completely overhaul an ingrained writing style that will take time and diligence to unlearn; however, The Seven Deadly Sins of Legal Writing is a hand-to-hand combat course. It will impart skills to help you spot and avoid seven of the most offensive, counterproductive, and frequent faults that affect vast quantities of legal prose. Join attorney Theodore Blumberg to learn not only how to avoid these sinkholes but, just as importantly, how to replace them with good, clear prose that’s vital and cogent. 

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Gain a true appreciation for the fact that legal writing must be practical—it’s intended to inform, persuade, or legislate
  2. Learn to replace bad habits, such as unnecessary use of the passive voice, needless abstraction, prolixity, redundancy, and excessive use of adverbs and adjectives to try to strengthen weakly expressed ideas, with prose that’s clear and even pleasurable to read (imagine judges actually enjoying—and being persuaded by—your briefs; clients feeling reassured by opinion letters they can understand and act on)
  3. Develop habits of thinking, reading, and writing that will inspire you to stand out as an exemplary legal writer, and give you the tools to do so
  4. Through detailed discussions, example, and exercises, learn to exorcise the seven deadly sins of legal writing, and gain skills you can begin to apply immediately

This course originally appeared as a part of our February 2017 Bridge the Gap Event.

Mary Ann O.
College Park, MD


Michael L.
Coral Springs, FL

excellent presentation

joseph b.
Melville, NY

Speaker added a dimension to what is often a predictable discussion and by doing so made many good points which came across, which others often fail to achieve.

Kamran H.
Rochester, NY

Best seminar on the subject.

Michael J. L.
Plainfield, NJ

Excellent teacher.

Marc G.
Wellington, FL

Great points and examples.

Laura M.
Claremont, CA


Barbara P.
Tampa, FL


Kenneth K.
Oak Park, IL

The best presentation on legal writing I have heard. Thank you.

Brenna M.
Leonia, NJ

One of the best speakers. Funny, entertaining, and has cogent, excellent advice.

Claudia C.
Northport, NY

I appreciated the fact that the course was recently taped (current material) and that the presenter gave his email for further books on the subject.

Nirav P.
Birmingham, AL

7 deadly sins of legal writing provides a short, memorable list for good writing habits useful in all industries, not just law - as a physician/lawyer I will strive to avoid these in both my medical and legal writing!

Mark S.
North Las Vegas, NV

Excellent speaker who presented the course with wit, clarity and logic. I really enjoyed it!

Steven D.
Delanson, NY

Great, great job.

Robert K.
New York, NY

Excellent, thoughtful discussion of how to write.

Marc K.
Pompano Beach, FL


jason b.
Omaha, NE

Top notch informative program

Claude A.
Oakland, CA

Interesting and fun.

Holly J.
San Diego, CA


Virginia G.
Stamford, CT

very good content

Andrea W.
Orlando, FL

Wonderful presentation. Sorely needed.

Marsha W.
Manhattan, NY

Excellent presentation!

Steven R.
New York, NY

this lecturer is outstanding!

Ajua H.
Philadelphia, PA

Really enjoyed this presentation!

Jasbrinder S.
White Plains, NY

excellent course

Denine C.
Rochester, NY

Awesome presenter.

Diana K.
Oceanside, NY

Really enjoyed it. Hopefully I will be able to put his advice into practice.

Howard A.
Bethany, CT

Excellent CLE course, with some great advice for better legal writing. One of the more informative CLE programs I've watched.


Very Helpful!

Alon M.
New York, NY

Thought provoking, direct and concise; well-worth the time.

francisco javier m.
Irvine, CA

good! to the point

Francine C.
Hoboken, NJ

Very important lessons for persuasive legal writing

Andrea M.
Pompano Beach, FL

Highly recommend for content and wonderful humor.

Cecilia C.
San Francisco, CA

One of, if not the, funniest Lawline CLE courses. Enjoyable and informative.

Beth F.
Winter Park, FL

Indispensable content. Highly informative and entertaining speaker.

Clara K.
New York, NY

Very useful presentation.

Christopher C.
Rockville Centre, NY

Excellent presentation.

Anthony S.
Glenview, IL

Best of dozens of seminars taken!

Kevin M.
Jersey City, NJ

Excellent speaker, and very useful topic!

Louise B.
Aroma Park, IL

good precise instructions for effective legal writing

Michael R.
Orinda, CA

Six of 7 sins, I already knew. The seventh, using footnotes for citations, is brilliant, and worth the course. Thanks also for recommending Brian Garner's work.

Kevin Z.
Wilton, CT


Pamela M.
Rochester, NY


Nicholas F.

An intelligent and articulate presentation.

Ellen P.

Great takeaways.

Michele P.
New York, NY

Thank you for this lecture. Writing is a constant process of revision and reinvention.

Julie A. B.
Hiles, WI

A dishy dive into legal writing.

Linda R.
Roslyn Heights, NY

Attorney Blumberg teaches state of the art legal writing in every second. I appreciated his writing examples of the late Justice Scalia and the late Justice Black.