By On Sep 29, 2018 Form Templates
YFind out what the standards are for citing authority in your jurisdiction. In California, lawyers follow the California Style Manual. In New York, they should (but frequently dont) follow the New York Law Reports Style Manual. In Texas, every knowledgeable practitioner follows the Texas Rules of Form. Other states have their own guides. And, of course, The Bluebook and the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation are widely used as defaults (and sometimes required by court rules). Even if you are not inclined to care much about these things, you better learn to obsess over them. Otherwise, you will look unschooled.
Combine book research with computer research. Dont overlook such obvious resources as Corpus Juris Secundum and American Jurisprudence. Look at indexes, digests and treatises to round out your understanding of the subject matter. And when it comes to computer research, dont forget Google Books (especially the advanced-search function): It can open up a great variety of fresh resources in addition to what you find with Westlaw or Lexis.
Some lawyers, especially less experienced ones being encouraged to avoid legalese, end up turning blithely informal and flouting the norms of standard English, especially in email messages. For example, they might write "u" instead of "you" and "cd" instead of "could." Some even use emoticons. Even if you find yourself working for a firm where some people do these things, exercise restraint. Use conventional punctuation and capitalization in your email messages. Your colleagues wont think any less of you, and your supervisors will appreciate your professionalism.
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