Success Lessons for Aspiring Lawyers! -8. Learn and develop drafting skills

The post is in continuation of our previous posts here,here,here ,here, here ,here and hereThe post has been contributed by Mr. Rajiv Joshi. He is a lawyer, practicing in the Punjab and Haryana High court at Chandigarh. He has 17 years of legal experience and deals with civil, criminal, service revenue and consumer matters. He may be reached at rajivjoshiadvocate@gmail.com.

The first and foremost hurdle to any young and new lawyer is the use of legal language and drafting the petitions. Every law student should start working with developing his drafting skills. This skill can be acquired through various methods.

Visiting the courts or sitting beside a lawyer while he is dictating the petitions, replies and other legal documents is a way to get acquainted with the fine nuances of the drafting skills.

Takeaway 1 – Visit Courts often

The students may visit the court rooms to see how the petitions, applications, and replies are drafted. A perusal of the petition, replies, and rejoinders will also point out the discrepancies if any in the petitions.

Takeaway 2 – Assist lawyers in typing work

One should also consider learning typing and then try and assist a lawyer in typing the petitions. Students can not only make out a good pocket money out of this but they will garner valuable drafting skills through this exercise. This would, in fact, be direct involvement in the drafting of petitions.

Takeaway 3 -Understand the facts of the case and proceed with their basis

One must also understand the basic facts of the case and then try and appreciate how the lawyer has crafted his petition, to cull out the legal questions involved and the prayer made in the petition.

Takeaway 4 – Be concise
The drafting skills are not just about putting the facts of your case into black and white. The drafting skills are about putting the facts of your case forward as concisely as you can, even while taking care that no essential fact is omitted. Brevity ought not to come at the cost of any material fact.

Takeaway 5 – Read as much as you can
Good drafting skills come with age, experience, and reading. Students should learn to read.

Only a student who has gone to the depths of the law would be able to spell the errors in any judgment or order and while drafting, a good knowledge of law and command over the language skills will pay rich dividends.

Many judges have the habit of reading the petitions a day before they have to hear the case. If the petition is well drafted and crisp and to the point, and is able to make out a point, the judge might very well issue a notice to the other party without even a query having been put to the counsel arguing the matter.

Takeaway 6 – Practice to draft legal documents and pleadings
The skillful drafting can be learned, acquired and developed through constant practice. Legal drafting is one thing which doesn’t come easily to many people.

Before jumping into the litigation side, the law students must brace themselves up for this single uphill task, which awaits them, at the entrance of the courts of law !!

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L&P Editorial Team

The Law & Practice Blog's editorial team.

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