What is Reader-driven Legal Writing?

What is Reader-driven Legal Writing?


Reader-driven legal writing is writing that communicates, persuades, and sells you as a professional.


Communicates – Legal writing, like all writing, is a form of communication. Legal writers often fail to communicate effectively because they write for themselves instead of their readers. Tailoring your writing to your readers’ specific characteristics, needs, and expectations ensures that your message will be properly understood every time.

Persuades – Most legal writing aims to persuade.  You may be trying to persuade the court to rule in your client’s favour, convince the other side to agree with you, or encourage your client to accept your recommendations.  What persuades one reader may irritate or anger another.  The better you know your readers, the easier it will be to persuade them.

Sells You As A Professional – In today’s world of electronic connectivity, you’ll be interacting with other lawyers, your clients, and just about everyone else, in writing. Every piece of writing you produce affects your professional reputation.  Clear and concise litigation documents impress judges and opposing counsel. Accurate and well-organized research memos impress assigning lawyers. Accessible and jargon free letters impress clients.


Reader-driven legal writing advertises to the world that you’re a competent, caring, and trustworthy advisor.


Good writing is writing that gets ideas across. And that’s much more a matter of paying attention to your reader than of paying attention to your English.  

 ~Herbert Simons