Rosky Legal Education


Welcome to the first issue of our newsletter—quick, practical tips for writing and speaking effectively. Each month, we'll be sharing strategies and advice on how to hone these critical skills so you can move ahead in your career. 

I hope you enjoy today's article on how the idea of an elevator pitch can make you a (much!) stronger writer. If you don't want to receive this newsletter, just click the unsubscribe link below. We hope you'll stay with us—we'd love to hear your questions, challenges, and suggestions for future articles. 
Until the next tip!
Dianne Rosky

No Excuses: Always Start With Your Main Point 

In working with lawyers on their writing, I’ve heard lots of excuses for not starting a document with the main point. The law is complicated. I want them to read the whole memo. I need to explain the background first. 

FuhgeddabouditFuhgeddaboudit! No matter what you’re writing—a brief, a memo, a letter, or an email—you need to lay out your main point early in the document. Here’s why:

  • Your readers are impatient. They aren’t interested in waiting for a big reveal.
  • Your readers are distracted; when they see where the analysis is going, they can take in the key points quickly.
  • Starting with a strong, clear main point demonstrates your authority and confidence.
When you aren’t sure what your main point is, or whether you even have one, think in terms of an elevator pitch. Imagine this: you’ve finished drafting but you haven’t turned the document in yet. You run into the assigning partner in the elevator, and she demands to know: “What did you find out on that issue?”

Whatever you would tell her before the doors open—whatever the key takeaway is—that’s your main point. State it plainly and concisely in the first paragraph of your document. Your readers will be impressed with your confidence, and they will love you for making their lives just a little bit easier. 

CLE Webinars

Are you looking to improve your legal writing and earn CLE credits? We are launching a series of one-hour CLE-accredited writing webinars this year. Learn more.

Authoritative Legal Writing: Show Confidence on Paper, our first webinar, is scheduled for June 20. Sign up here.

Got Summers?

Summer associate season is upon us. Get in touch to find out about our tried-and-true summer associate writing program. This year marks the 10th year I've presented the program at Sullivan & Cromwell, my first client ever.

Recommended Resource

Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, by Patricia T. O'Conner 
Few grammar books are as charming as Woe is I. Patricia O'Conner calmly explains tricky usage issues—like how to add an apostrophe to a word ending in -s. Let's just say the first chapter is called Therapy for Pronoun Anxiety

Rosky Legal Ed

Our team of writing and speech experts works with lawyers and other professionals to help them deliver communications that make them shine. We work with lawyers in all practice areas and especially love teaching women and international attorneys. Our clients are AmLaw 100 firms and global companies. 

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