Illinois Bar Journal

Articles on Legal Writing

To Speak or Not to Speak?

By Maureen B. Collins
October
2003
Column
Page 525
Sometimes 'tis nobler in the mind to keep thy mouth shut...

What I Learned from Television

By Maureen B. Collins
September
2003
Column
Page 471
The observant couch-potato can actually learn a lesson or two from the tube about effective communication.

First Drafts Made Easy

By T. Evan Schaeffer
June
2003
Column
Page 311
Using these six tips makes writing first drafts fun. Well, almost.

Conquering the Comma: Conjunctions and Essential Elements

By Lisa McGrady
May
2003
Column
Page 259
Is comma placement a lot like flower arranging for you ("let's see, one would look nice here")? If so, read on.

Adjectives, Adverbs, and More

By Lisa McGrady
April
2003
Column
Page 205
So when do you use "whom"? Our grammar review continues with adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and pronouns.

Verbs: Putting Action into Your Words

By Lisa McGrady
March
2003
Column
Page 145
Part two of our journey into the wonderful world of composition and grammar.

Back to the Basics of Grammar and Style

By Maureen B. Collins
February
2003
Column
Page 91
Sexy they're not, but grammatical rules and conventions are too important to ignore.

A Writer’s Resolutions for the New Year

By Maureen B. Collins
January
2003
Column
Page 39
Put your nose on a diet? Tone up your grammar skills? Here's a legal writer's list of New Year's resolutions.

Picky, Picky, Picky: Formatting an Appellate Brief

By Maureen B. Collins
September
2002
Column
Page 491
Don't try to understand the often picayune rules that govern typefaces, paper color and the like; just learn and follow them.

Write for Success in Discovery

By Maureen B. Collins
March
2002
Column
Page 149
Don't underestimate the importance of interrogatories and other forms of written discovery as a way to glean information that can strengthen your case.

To Write or Not to Write: Written and Oral Discovery Compared

By Maureen B. Collins
February
2002
Column
Page 97
Interrogatories and depositions each have their strengths and weaknesses; here are basic guidelines for deciding when to use which discovery technique.

A Place for Policy

By Maureen B. Collins
October
2001
Column
Page 543
If you can persuade the judge that ruling in your client's favor means doing good, you'll probably do well.

Writing Like a Lawyer Means Thinking Like a Lawyer

By Maureen B. Collins
September
2001
Column
Page 493
A new book makes legal analysis as simple as one-two-three.

The Lawyer’s Journal

By Bonnie C. McGrath
August
2001
Column
Page 394
Name-calling brief writers get a pass; Gramm-Leach-Bliley may require lawyers to send privacy notices; and more.

A Punctuation Primer

By Maureen B. Collins
August
2001
Column
Page 433
It isn't too late to learn the all-but-lost art of proper punctuation.

Writing That Stirred Your Souls

By Maureen B. Collins
July
2001
Column
Page 377
We asked you, Gentle Readers, to send us writing that moved you. Here are excerpts from your responses.

The Message, the Method, the Madness

By Maureen B. Collins
June
2001
Column
Page 321
For some communication, e-mail is just the thing; other times, only a phone call will do. As you think about what message to send, consider how best to send it.

Point/Counterpoint: Crafting a Counter-Argument

By Maureen B. Collins
May
2001
Column
Page 267
Learn to counter your opponent's arguments without giving them too much weight.

Writing as Art

By Maureen B. Collins
April
2001
Column
Page 207
Some writing has special power; the power to move people. And isn't that what lawyers aspire to do?

Verbs Are It

By Sue Liemer
March
2001
Column
Page 151
Want to improve your writing in a hurry? Go heavy on the verbs, easy on the nouns.

Correspondence from Our Readers

January
2001
Column
Page 6
The Bluebook and Supreme Court Rule 6; you can't follow both.

The Lost Art of Drawing a Conclusion

By Maureen B. Collins
January
2001
Column
Page 45
Somewhere between "the one hand" and "the other" may be the answer your client hired you to provide.

Legal Writing Can be a Scream

By Maureen B. Collins
December
2000
Column
Page 725
A gallery of horrors awaits legal writers who aren't attentive to; or who play fast and loose with; the details.

Bluebook Blues: Changes in the Seventeenth Edition

By Maureen B. Collins
November
2000
Column
Page 663
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the new edition of the Bluebook is waiting to taunt you with its incomprehensible minutiae.

A Civil Action

By Maureen B. Collins
October
2000
Column
Page 601
It may not be in your client's best interest to approach your relationship with opposing counsel as if it were war.

Why Brief Writing is Like Ice Hockey

By Lisa J. Freedman
August
2000
Column
Page 477
Find out what the best appellate lawyers and the Great Gretzky have in common.

An Editing Checklist

By Maureen B. Collins
July
2000
Column
Page 415
Learning to be your own editor is an important but challenging job. This checklist can help you revise your own work.

A Legal Writer’s Bookshelf

By Maureen B. Collins
June
2000
Column
Page 359
Been a while since you sharpened your writer's saw? These books can help.

Lawyer as Storyteller

By Maureen B. Collins
May
2000
Column
Page 289
To be truly persuasive, don't just write a brief; tell a story.

Electronic Briefs: The Time Has Come

By Todd H. Flaming
April
2000
Column
Page 233
Here's how to create an electronic brief that includes exhibits, signed documents; everything you'd include in a paper version. For an example, see /ibj/apr00lj/ebrief.pdf.

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