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Legal Writing

Legal Reading

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Car Speeding Past BillboardWhat is Legal Reading?

When I read billboards, that's billboard reading. Very quick.

When I read newspapers, that's newspaper reading. A bit slower, but still "skimming" words and ideas to get through quickly.

When I read legal, that's "legal reading"... slow down!

There are potholes, bumps, and dangerous detours.

I dare not miss them!

They all spell disaster!

Legal reading is unlike all reading I've ever done ... especially now that I find myself in court where everything is about words and what they mean!

The danger is not just in meanings of individual words.

The twists and turns I must avoid are found in how words are arranged in sentences, where the commas are, and how one word can cancel others or change their meaning and application to my case.

I dare not "scan".

I dare not "rush".

I dare not imagine I know what is said or, God forbid, move forward on what I think I have a "feeling for".

I must constantly be looking for the loopholes!

Man Looking into LooholeI must carefully analyze every sentence, taking into consideration all possible meanings of each word as iot appears in the context of each sentence.

Always looking for loopholes.

If I read something written by my opponent, I should expect sneaky word trickery!

I will trust my opponent's writing to be straightforward.

It usually won't be.

And, when reading law written by Congress, my state legislature, an agency, or local government, the same rules apply.

This class will teach me how to read legal ... defensively and offensively!

I must learn this ... or lose my case!

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