You can speed up your writing, whether you are in practicing law or you are still in law school or you are taking the bar exam.
My observation from more than 20 years of teaching legal writing is that people who write slowly are not just slower people, with slowness in their DNA. They are actually doing different things.
So here are some things not to do if you want to write faster, followed by some things to do.
(1) Do not pause before starting to write, staring at the page, even after you have already made an outline;
(2) Do not list the facts on a separate sheet of paper before starting to outline the task;
(3) Do not just start writing and keep writing until the first topic is exhausted, without being aware of how much of the total available time you have spent;
(4) Do not use extra words, while covering the same ground as writing concisely, or less;
(5) At least for exam purposes, do not draft relatively quickly and then go back and redraft and rewrite.
Here are some things to practice if you want to speed up your writing:
(1) Make a note of a beginning and ending time, whether you are writing a task in a law office, or writing a practice exam for law school, or for a bar exam essay or MPT. Divide each task into parts, and write down the beginning and ending time for each part. If an exam has more than one essay or more than one part, write down the beginning and ending time for each part. Be aware of the time. Develop a sense of urgency.
(2) Outline your task or essay by noting the rules of law you will use to solve the problem;
(3) Once you have an outline, start to write immediately, keeping track of the time.
(4) Edit your essay mentally as you write, cutting verbose or redundant language;
(5) Structure each paragraph or each section, demonstrating how the law does or does not apply to the facts;
(6) Train yourself to write within time limits by practicing with a stopwatch or a kitchen timer.
These are all techniques that we teach in the BarWrite® classes.
Remember, writing slowly is not in your DNA. You can learn to write excellent work products or high-scoring essays and MPTs and write them within the time allowed. Go for it!
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