I recently attended the annual meeting of Scribes, which is a legal writing Honor Society. I was inducted as a member a few years ago. It is always a thrill for me to rub shoulders with some of the finest legal writers in the country. Scholars, judges, lawyers and other professionals attended. Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens was awarded a lifetime achievement award (via video). Judge Diane Wood from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals spoke on legal writing and the importance of clear thinking and communication in the law. In the hurly-burly world of family law, it is difficult to maintain the high standards of communication espoused by Judge Wood. But, it is vital. I am constantly reading and learning of ways to improve my communication skills, both written and verbal. I regularly buy books on legal writing written by Brian Garner (also a Scribes member) as well as other distinguished legal writing scholars. One of the great challenges of the practice of law is the need to constantly improve. If you’re not getting better you’re getting worse!
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