“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” – Blaise Pascal.

“I am sorry Judge, I would have written a shorter brief if I had more time.” – The untrained legal writer.

While I quote the latter somewhat tongue in cheek, the reality is that inattention to legal writing will

We started the day with a legal writing seminar taught by Ed Lintz of Legal Writing Pro—a resource to which I attribute much of my success in law school (Point Made, written by the company’s founder, was by my side at all times then and now). But the seminar was particularly helpful

suit_papersBeing a strong writer is a requirement for practicing law, but ask a lay person and they may tell you “legal writing” evokes thoughts of confusing contracts and memos filled with obscure Latin phrases. Fortunately for us, Susan McCloskey of Susan McCloskey Writing Consultants came to Bilzin Sumberg this week to help us keep our writing clear, effective, and sans-“legalese.”

The process actually began weeks ago, when Jessica Buchsbaum asked each of the summer associates to submit writing samples. We also completed a “Writer’s Inventory”, answering questions about our writing methods, strengths, and weaknesses.  Susan used these materials to tailor her writing seminar to our individual needs.

Susan began by sharing proven writing techniques that improve organization, clarity, and concision. For example, Susan encouraged us to keep the purpose and the reader in mind when organizing and editing our writing.  This is crucial for us, because we’ll be doing work for attorneys with wildly different preferences and expectations over the summer.
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Paul VanderMeer’s winning lemon tart

The “freshman fifteen” is a staple of any memorable college experience. You’re living out of the house for the first time, and the amount of fat in the one dish you know how to “cook” is surpassed only by its MSG content. You’re just a swipe away from the dining hall’s endless array of every fried dish you can possibly imagine, and you’re the only one stopping yourself from indulging in that second, third, or even fourth dessert.

As we end our first week at Bilzin Sumberg, my fellow summer associates and I have encountered similar gluttonous temptations. Thursday and Friday mornings’ legal writing seminars were accompanied by breakfast spreads that could’ve fed a summer class twice our size. Thursday evening’s library happy hour included a plethora of delicious finger foods and beverages, both of the adult and non-adult varieties. Finally, Friday afternoon’s bakeoff featured desserts that would’ve impressed Gordon Ramsay, and I’m not just saying that because Jessica Buchsbaum was a star competitor.


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