Litigation Journal

Tips for Lawyers Writing in a Time Crunch

Anna Hemingway and Jennifer Lear

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Your phone rings just as you are packing up your briefcase at the end of the day. Caller ID tells you it’s your supervising attorney. To answer or not to answer? With responsibility getting the better of you, you reluctantly lift the receiver. Your supervisor tells you a client is impatiently waiting for advice on his case. The client is expecting an advisory letter by noon tomorrow. You have not yet started researching, so you know you have a long night ahead of you.

Back in law school, you would have had at least two weeks to complete a writing assignment. With those two weeks, you would have had ample time to research, analyze, outline, draft, revise, edit, and polish. You would have devoted significant attention to large-scale, mid-scale, and small-scale revisions. You might even have been able to put the writing aside for a day to edit with fresh eyes. Sadly, those days are gone.

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