January 2012 CBA REPORT
article. The introduction should tell the
reader why they should continue read-
ing. End the article with a conclusion and
encourage the reader to “read more” about
Very few people want to read a 15-page
scholarly essay on the history of XYZ Act,
so go no longer than one or two pages
(unless you are, in fact, writing for a law
review). Typically, an article should be no
more than 750 words, although each pub-
lication sets its own limit and the trend is
toward shorter pieces.
Avoid acronyms and academic or legal-
istic language. Articles that appear in
general-circulation publications should be
comprehensible to all readers. Use “plain
English” language in an active voice and
with a moderate tone. Additionally, endless
footnotes tend to distract and confound, so
remove them altogether if they cannot be
easily included in the main text.
Double-check all your facts, the spelling of
names and places, and make certain you
have no grammatical errors. Even simple
mistakes can hurt your credibility and
cause an otherwise well-written piece to be
A short one- or two-sentence statement of
your credentials should be included at the
end of the article noting your name, title,
department, and experience in the area.
This explanation is normally 25 words or
Writing Just Isn’t for Me…
A response I often receive is, “I’m not a
writer.” In fact, lawyers, by nature, are writ-
ers. Just think of the countless opinion letters,
complaints, reply briefs and motions you tap
out each and every day. Who wouldn’t want to
build their credibility with potential clients by
providing helpful information in their practice
or differentiate their profile from their peers?
Lastly, and most importantly, unlike advertis-
ing, writing is FREE publicity!
Shumate is the Marketing Manager at Dinsmore and is
primarily responsible for the firm’s public and media relations.
Learn more about Kyle at