Getting to the Point
Our goal in legal writing is to give our reader the necessary information as quickly and efficiently as possible. We’re not writing mystery novels, where the goal is to conceal the killer’s identity until the very last moment. Our job is to get to the point. Too often, though, legal writers obscure their main points or delay sharing them, which forces their readers to wait to find out the key idea. Keeping our readers in the dark frustrates them. It also makes it harder for them to follow what we’re saying. When we bury or defer our main point, it taxes the reader’s attention, since the reader is trying to simultaneously (a) figure out what our main point is, and (b) digest the support for that idea. The quicker we can explain the former, the quicker it frees up the reader’s capacity to understand the latter. There are many things we can do to help bring our main points forward. Here are two specific tweaks we can make to help readers get the point right away when discussing previous cases.