Legal writing jobs are among some of the highest-paid writing jobs out there.
While many require or benefit from a law degree, not all do. And you can land a legal writing job as long as you write well and have great legal research skills.
This post will explain legal writing, give you an idea of the pay ranges to expect, and list 9 excellent legal writing jobs to look for right now.
You’re on your way to landing your next legal writing job.
When we hear the word “lawyer” we often conjure up images of Law & Order, The Good Wife, Perry Mason, or even Night Court. But plenty of lawyers handle legal issues without litigation.
Legal writers do research for the project at hand, then produce exceptional written content.
This includes more complicated documents, like legal briefs, or something as simple as a brochure at the front desk of a law firm (and anything in between).
Either way, it all involves legal writing.
There is a broad pay range for legal writing.
Part-time freelance work can be as little as $15/hr for simple editing and legal content creation.
A full-time job at a law firm can earn you over 6-figures for drafting briefs, contracts, and other legal documents. This typically requires a law degree.
You may be asking, what are the highest-paying writing jobs? Those will definitely require a law degree and be very technical in nature. Legal analysts and brief writers are often paid the most.
Big firms in cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago all have lawyers on staff whose only job is writing. No courtrooms, arguing with a judge or bringing a case before a jury required.
If you have your law degree and want to use it for writing, you could command well north of $100,000.
There is clearly work available for a freelance legal content writer.
Legal writer profiles have pay ranges from $25/hr to $200/hr. Take some time to peruse their profiles. See what they offer and for how much, then set your own price.
But Upwork and Fiverr aren’t the only places to find freelance work.
Legal writing jobs fall under one of two banners. Technical (or “tech”) writing will require more knowledge about the legal industry. While not required in every instance, a legal “technical writer” benefit from having attended law school.
The first four jobs on our list are considered technical writing. The remaining five are non-technical, or less technical, in nature, and can be done by any freelancer with a command of the English language and strong research skills.
A legal analyst (sometimes called a “paralegal” or “legal assistant”) is familiar with laws and legal documents but does not have to be a licensed attorney.
They draft contracts, litigation filings, discovery material, legal memos, and other documents for a particular legal transaction or court case.
Legal analysts may also summarize case law, prepare news summaries, or analyze industry events for online legal information vendors.
A legal brief is a document that argues why a case should be won or a motion granted. Briefs include the disputed issue, statement of facts, and supporting arguments.
As a brief writer, you will do research and create the briefs, motions, memorandums, and other legal documents for legal firms.
A legal correspondent or news analyst will report on the latest developments in the legal industry that involve things of legal nature or criminal justice.
Correspondents typically report from a particular region or county, whereas a news analyst reports for a newspaper or broadcasting company.
Legal editor jobs perform copyediting and content editing for a law firm or organization’s written materials. They are responsible to make sure all print and online documents meet the organization’s standards.
To be clear, this is NOT proofreading. Proofreading is more about catching typos, punctuation errors, and fixing grammar.
These online publications, law firm websites, and law-based internet sites need legal research and SEO content.
Here are three well-known legal publications with links to contact for submission:
These jobs are a little more difficult to find and may take some networking to find who’s hiring.
Many lawyers have more money than time and are willing to pay to have their amazing stories and expertise shared with the world.
Here are few tips to keep in mind:
When it comes to legal writing, you’ll want to know what constitutes “good” in the industry.
Find well-known law blogs and read the most popular articles. Look for Supreme Court briefs and opinions. Search for legal research materials to give you an idea of how thoughts are organized.
Keep in mind both your audience and the purpose of your written creation.
The key to successful legal writing is organization.
Start by telling your reader what’s important. Then, as they read, they’ll know what to look for.
These things drop clues to the reader about where to place their attention.
Our brains naturally remember stories better than anything else. That’s why most religious texts use parables – you remember the message inside the story.
Use narrative to make a convincing argument memorable.
Legalese is the specialized legal phrasing that lawyers use in briefs, contracts, and other documents. Examples are herewith, heretofore, hereinafter, aforementioned, and wherein.
Get rid of the legalese. It makes your writing difficult to read and understand.
Use simple language and go for clarity.
When your sentence doesn’t have the subject of the verb, you are using passive voice; you’re not showing who is responsible.
Tell your reader who is doing the acting by putting that person at the front of the sentence.
Don’t write the car crashed into the store, instead write the defendant crashed the car into the store.
One of the best practices any content writer can do is to write daily.
The legal writing field is wide-ranging, full of opportunities, and looking for new writers like you. There’s never been a better time to jump into the industry.
No law degree? No problem. The legal industry needs copywriting, content marketing, and more.
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