BriefCatch Blog

Writing Tips & Legal Writing Articles

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Winning Feedback: Four Examples

By Ross Guberman / June 19, 2020 /

Good feedback does more than just boost morale. It can make you a magnet for better work product. To inspire change, recast your feedback as something the writer could do on a computer the next time, not something you want a draft to be. That means getting beyond squishy mantras and circular adjectives. What does…

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Adverbs on Trial: Innocent on Two Counts, but Guilty on Three More

By Ross Guberman / June 17, 2020 /

The Wall Street Journal put adverbs on trial some time ago. Witnesses for the prosecution: Stephen King (“The adverb is not your friend,” says he), a slew of anti-adverb judges, and legions of legal writing teachers. Witnesses for the defense: famed adverb lover Justice Scalia, an academic “legal anthropologist,” and the author of the article,…

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When Feedback Falls Flat

By Ross Guberman / June 16, 2020 /

I often work with attorneys who are several years into their careers. They’ve received lots of feedback, but why hasn’t it generated the results their supervisors intended? Attorneys often resist feedback because they don’t understand what’s behind it. Explain your advice so they’ll more likely heed your suggestions. You say: “Be more concise.” They think:…

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PowerSummer Client Alert Competition

By Ross Guberman / May 17, 2020 /

This summer, we’re going to run a nationwide contest to recognize summer associates who write the best client alerts or similar articles aimed at the public. The final round will be judged by a panel of three. Here’s how the contest will work:  The topic can be something you’re assigned during the summer or an…

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PowerSummer Assessment Instructions

By Ross Guberman / May 17, 2020 /

Hello! We hope your summer is off to a great start. We’ve designed an assessment to help tailor your personalized e-learning later in the summer. When you have 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted time, please click here to log in using your law firm email. Once you start the assessment, you must finish it. Here are…

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Writing About Regulations? Remember “You and Yours”

By Ross Guberman / April 24, 2020 /

So many people yearn to understand regulations right now. If you want to help, think of yourself as an interpreter. Less “copy and paste” and more “streamline and clarify.” Here’s an underused tip: Make it all about “You.” Let’s take the IRS’s attempt to explain a complex scheme involving inherited individual retirement accounts, or IRAs.…

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Concerned About Finding Meaningful Projects for Summer Associates? One Solution and a Dozen Benefits.

By Ross Guberman / April 24, 2020 /

Many Legal Writing Pro clients and BigLaw friends are scrambling right now to transform their summer associate programs on the fly. At the top of the list: How will my firm find substantive work for our summer associates in the face of a truncated season, remote participation, dwindling transactions, stalled litigation, and distracted supervisors and…

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Writing to Clients and the Public in the COVID-19 Era: Some Clarity Tips

By Ross Guberman / April 7, 2020 /

So many are clamoring for guidance from lawyers right now. And so many lawyers are clamoring to be trusted advisors. Time pressure, high stakes, and ever-evolving rules make clear writing invaluable these days. But are we doing all we can? Let’s apply some clarity tips to a typical BigLaw client alert I found randomly. The…

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Force Majeure and Coronavirus: A Checklist

By Ross Guberman / April 1, 2020 /

I skimmed hundreds of pages of client alerts and other publications. Here’s a distillation. What is force majeure? A contract defense allowing you to (1) delay performance, (2) excuse performance, or (3) limit liability from nonperformance. You invoke force majeure over an event (or the effect of an event) that you couldn’t control or reasonably anticipate…

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Five Ways to Write Like George Conway III

By Ross Guberman / March 31, 2020 /

When you hear the name George Conway III, do you think “Kellyanne” or “That Twitter Guy”? My goal is to make the association “Peerless Securities Litigator” or “Crack Legal Writer.” After all, Mr. Conway figured in my Point Made long before he became a household name. Let’s take two routine briefs Mr. Conway signed at…

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