How to organize the material, Structure of the legal document: introductory remarks - The art of legal writing

How to organize the material

Structure of the legal document: introductory remarks

It has already been mentioned above that it is of fundamental importance to determine from the outset for whom you are drafting the legal text and what purpose you are pursuing. These two factors will also determine the structure and format of your document, its requisites, since any text represents a unity of form and content.

So, first, you need to determine who your addressee is. It's not just that you need to correctly specify the name of the addressee and the name of the organization to which you will send your text (which in itself is also important). You must be well aware of the ability of your reader to correctly read and understand your document, and this ability is different for everyone. It is desirable to have an idea of ​​the scope of your reader, his specialty, about the educational level, and, perhaps, even life experience. One of the common mistakes made by novice lawyers is that they do not consider who they write for and "do not fit" Its legal letter for a specific client. For example, do not distinguish between the addressee - a lawyer and a non-jurist, do not take into account the actual situation in which the individual or legal entity turned to them for advice. Why did your client behave in this way? What does he want to achieve? Why does he need your opinion or other document, on which you work at his request? These are questions to which you must give yourself answers. You also need to understand how you can use what you write, and what will be the circle of potential readers of your final product. Lack of clarity in these issues, as a rule, negatively affects the quality of legal writing.

In order to write clearly, each writer must present himself at the reader's place.

Jean de Labruier, French writer

Secondly, you need to determine the main goal, which you pursue, starting to compile a specific legal text. What is the main idea that you want to convey to your reader?

It is not easy to choose from the mass of information that we possess, from all that we could say on this matter, exactly what is the main thing that constitutes the subject of our conversation. It is not easy to leave aside anything that does not directly serve the task of bringing our message to the reader clearly and concisely. Try to summarize as briefly as possible the main idea that you put in your document. It is desirable to fit this idea into two or three phrases, a maximum of one paragraph. This is the purpose of your letter. From it you need to start. The compactly formulated main idea of ​​your letter, a condensed statement of its essence can be the beginning of your text and subsequently form the basis of the introductory part of your document. This is a kind of key to how to master the skills of a good legal writing. Although such advice may seem obvious, many are neglected.

The result is formless and pointless legal texts.

If you can not yet formulate the main idea, then you are not ready to begin writing the text, and you need to either conduct additional legal research, or think more carefully about the issue.

Thus, a concise, compact presentation of the essence of your document allows you to solve four problems:

• Organize the information you have and bring your thoughts in order;

• check whether you have enough information to start writing, and whether you need to conduct additional research;

• overcome the fear of a white sheet of paper;

• formulate at the very beginning your main thesis, and in fact - your conclusion on the issue that interests the reader.

Then you can define the overall structure of the document and the sequence of the presentation. It is desirable to imagine, at least approximately, the volume of your document. It is important to consider two points. First, you need to understand what the reader expects of you (for example, what volume document he would like to receive), and second, to determine how much of the document, from your point of view, would be appropriate in the circumstances.

The structure of the document you define at the beginning of the work is not final. Her core will be unchanged, in that case, of course, if he was originally elected correctly. As you work on the document, as you move deeper into the subject, the structure of your text will be refined, and perhaps changed. The structure of the document reflects the logic of presentation, and it will take shape in the course of developing your thoughts.

Any legal letter should consist of an introductory, main and final part. Even the shortest document has at least three parts. For example, in a letter, the introductory part can consist of only one phrase - greetings.

Some types of documents have a strictly defined structure. Therefore, before writing the text, it is necessary to find out what requirements are required for the design of the document you are working on.

Bulky, multi-page documents should contain a table of contents with the pages of the relevant parts of the text. The table of contents is essentially a detailed plan, which you compiled at the stage of research, gathering information and thinking about your document and its structure.

It is not a fact that you will write in the order that is reflected in your plan-table of contents. Let me remind you that it's more productive to start writing with the most simple or specific questions (for example, describing the actual side of the case) or what you are better at. This will allow you to start your thoughts.

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