I received a message from one of my readers asking me to write on Legal Writing. So, I will be taking this topic in 3 parts. The parts will be taken in three consecutive days.
INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL WRITING.
How possible is it to separate the legal profession and writing? It is totally impossible. Writing is totally important to law just as advocacy is. In fact, in my view writing is much more important. A lawyer will need to write his briefs and do a lot of legal drafting; he might be called upon to draft a contractual agreement and a small mistake as using ‘a’ instead of ‘the’ might mess up the whole agreement.
Writing is a means of expression just as talking , only that this time it is in lettered prints. Unlike when talking ,where one can control the rise and fall of one’s tone, gesticulate and sometimes use facial expressions just to drive home one’s point, there is nothing of such in writing. It is either you are good in your use of English or you fail totally to drive home your opinions. As a result of this, an intending lawyer must go through proper training to have the skill of good writing. It requires lots of training along with patience since no one is automatically born with the ability to write. Like my Editor-in-chief will always tell us, you don’t write the way you think.
Essay is just an aspect of legal writing. An essay is a piece if writing on a given subject, it is not so short and not necessarily too long. It is a literary work where the writer expresses his opinions on a particular field. What is most important is how he presents his opinions, that is, the clarity and arrangement of ideas.
Types of essay:
Descriptive Essay: A type of essay in which the writer tries to give a vivid account of something by using distinctive qualities of that subject to drive home his opinion.
Narrative Essay: It takes the form of presentation of details about events in the order in which they occurred. It is the chronological presentation of an event.
Expository Essay: One has to be careful so as not to confuse a descriptive essay and an expository essay. Expository essay is usually written to expound more on a topic or a field. It is written to clarify, explain and sometimes bring new information to its readers.
Argumentative Essay: A writer tends to support or oppose a position. He takes a stand and tries to persuade the reader to support or accept his view. Lawyers prepare briefs of argument.
It is important to note that, the above essay types may overlap. An essay might require a little argument, description, exposition and narration. As a result of this one must be well versed in all the types.
I hope this helps 🙂
I will be posting the second part tomorrow. It will be dealing with METHODS IN ESSAY WRITING.
Please drop your comments and questions:)
Abiola Sanni’s Introduction to Nigerian Legal Method.
Oyekan Oluwaseun O