Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The February 2016 Bar Exam: Sound Like a Lawyer When You Write

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The purpose of the bar exam is for the bar examiners to determine if you are ready to be a lawyer. That’s why using lawyer-like words will help you when you write.

I don’t mean for you to use legalisms or a lot of “wherefor art thou” type of language. Instead use the verbs that lawyers use. For example, don’t tell the bar examiners that the court will find the criminal defendant innocent. A defendant is always found not guilty. When a plaintiff prevails, don’t say that the plaintiff won the case. Instead of telling the bar examiners that the court will reject the petition, tell the bar examiners that the court will dismiss the petition. Instead of a party losing a venue issue, for example, say that the party waived his right to it.

Also use “term of art” lawyer words. For example, one of my pet peeves is when a law students doesn’t use the word pretermitted child when discussing a child who was omitted from a will . Use words like elective share when discussing what the spouse is entitled to in the will.

Your essay will be much better when you use language that lawyers use.

Remember, write like a lawyer for your bar exam essays and MPTs. Only then will the bar examiners know you are ready to practice law.

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