During my time practicing as a lawyer I have learned a lot. And there is still so much to learn. Some of my learning has come from making my own mistakes. (And there have been many mistakes.) But one of my favorite ways to learn is by sharing and exchanging ideas with my colleagues and other lawyers. I am always in a continuing process of personal and professional development, so I am always eager to learn.
I am starting to place posts to invite other lawyers to enter into a dialogue. I will be pleased and happy if you will bring your ideas, impressions, and information to this post, so we can create a place for lawyers who are interested in exchanging ideas and learning new things. I am going to start with something I have been thinking about a lot lately: writing.
To Grow to Be a Successful Lawyer: Written Communication Skills in English
I have been thinking a lot lately about writing. Words are the lawyer’s tools, and writing well is one of the most important skills that a lawyer can have. After all, l lawyers must write, whether they write court briefs, compile transactional documents, draft legislation, or prepare memoranda. And in today’s increasingly international practices, lawyers must learn to write not only well, but also in English.
I have learned that in English, legal writing is different than it is in Kazakh or Russian. It is very concise and practical. Ambiguity and vagueness are discouraged.
This is a difficult transition for me. Languages like Russian, for example, value beautiful writing and long sentences in which the writers can showcase their education and intellect. Digressions and ambiguity are admired. But when writing in English, I have to try to learn a more direct style that is not easy for me.
Also, when learning to speak or write in a foreign language, people like me often write in their first language and then translate. This habit does not work well, especially with English. I think it would be much better to learn to write directly in the different style of the other language. I have been trying to do this. But sometimes the grammar and style may become mixed together.
Being aware of the problem is a big step toward solving it. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this, or any advice?