GUIDE 2024

What Does a Legal Writer Do?

A legal writer creates contracts, agreements, memoranda, and other documents that need legal terminology. They may write for legal firms, law firm websites, or work as a freelancer to build a legal background.

As a legal writer, you research, draft, and edit content for and about the legal industry. A legal writer must analyze their target audience and tailor their legal document or publication to them. Legal writing involves having in-depth knowledge about law and excellent research skills. You may have to study and summarize case law, analyze industry events, give legal advice, draft contracts, and create other technical legal writing documents. It depends on the legal industry emphasis you choose.

Given the immense demand for many types of legal writing, a legal writer has a lot of job opportunities if they possess in-depth knowledge. There is a broad range of legal writing jobs available. It varies by your legal research skills, requirements of the legal industry area, and your knowledge about legal topics.

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What is Legal Writing?

Legal writers inform, persuade, or both. Legal writing analyzes patterns and presents arguments in legal briefs and memos. Legal writers support the legal industry through legal analysis, presentation of arguments, and actual drafting.

Types of Legal Writing

There are a few main types of legal writing:

  • Analyzing a legal problem or issue. For example, as a legal writer, you might write letters to clients to inform them about the status of their case or to other lawyers and opposing parties.
  • Presenting a persuasive case. You might conduct research and incorporate relevant legal precedents while making a case on a specific legal issue.
  • Drafting legal documents. As a legal writer, you might prepare legally binding documents such as wills or contracts.

The most common legal writing jobs are brief writers, legal analysts, legal correspondents, feature writers, web writers, corporate writers, and legal editors.

Brief Writers

Brief writers create legal briefs including details about a law case, the statement, argument, dispute concern, and other information. In legal writing, briefs state why the claim must win or lose and the order granted or reversed. These legal writers must write down all the vital information, such as the briefs, legal memoranda, motions, and other legal documents. Brief writers work for lawyers or law firms.

Qualifications: As a brief writer, you must at least have a college degree. In some cases, you may also need prior experience in the field to become a legal writer specializing in briefs.

Legal Analysts

A legal analyst, also known as a legal assistant, must stay informed of laws and legal ideas. Legal writers work to analyze cases, conduct research, and gather data. They also draft contracts, memos, file litigations, and other legal documents. As a legal analyst, you may also write news summaries and analyze the industry’s latest developments for online legal websites.

Qualification: To become a legal writer and analyst, you should have a law degree and some experience in the field. But, you do not need to be a licensed attorney. It also helps to have a credible certification such as the one from Technical Writer HQ.

Technical Writing Certifications

Legal Correspondents

Correspondents are legal professionals who report on news related to criminal justice or other legal matters. They often work near a courthouse for the state or county. Legal correspondents are different from general news analysts because news analysts work for broadcasting networks.

Qualification: These legal writers must know how to navigate the court system and know which details are valued by that audience. To become a legal writer and correspondent, you must usually be an attorney with an eye for detail while conducting legal analysis.

Feature Writers

Feature writers write for journals and magazines in the legal industry. The magazines may have news about the latest industry events, information for attorneys, and advice for lawyers and law firms. Some common examples include the ABA Journal by the American Bar Association. As a feature writer, you must write compelling narratives that interest the reader and grab their attention. Feature articles can be opinion pieces on legal matters that pertain to a particular place, person, or event.

Qualifications: To be a feature writer, you must have good writing skills and legal knowledge to conduct research. That is because such legal professionals often have to write about trends, facts, and the latest happenings in the legal industry.

Web Content Legal Writers

A web writer, or a legal content writer, will write for law firm websites or other law-based internet sites that feature legal content. Online publications and blogs are a great place to aim your career if you want to discuss the latest legal events or legal topics. Legal web writers can also write how-to blogs for these online publications to educate readers about legal issues.

Qualifications: To be a web writer, you must have basic legal knowledge of terms and outstanding research skills. You must also know how to write web copy for SEO.

Corporate Writers

The purpose of a corporate writer is to be the medium of communication between a company and its audience. Such legal writers must not only be well versed in legal matters but must also maintain a tone of voice that matches their corporation. They handle legal work for law firms and other businesses.

Some types of documents that corporate writers create are:

  • Press releases
  • Annual reports
  • Business letters
  • White papers
  • Leaflets and brochures
  • Educational material
  • Marketing copy

Qualifications: Corporate legal writers must have a degree the legal industry recognizes related to business law to match the requirements of most firms.

Legal Editors

Legal editors are in charge of reviewing, editing, and proofreading an organization’s legal publications. They ensure that the documents are in line with the company’s standards and current laws. You are well-suited for this legal industry career if you are a strong communicator, enjoy law, and have an eye for detail. Legal editors play an essential role in the final release of legal publications. The publications may be for law firms and can come in many forms, such as papers, pages, blogs, or magazine articles.

Qualifications: To become a legal editor, you must have a law degree, have strong researching skills, and be an excellent communicator.

Education Requirements

While the exact qualifications may differ between the different types of legal writers, you must have a college degree to become a legal writer.

While some specific types of legal writing jobs may need a law-specific degree, all are different. More technical legal writers will need a deep understanding of terms, processes, and complex legal ideas, making a law degree valuable. In less technical jobs, employers prefer a degree in journalism, communication, or another related field.

How to Become a Legal Writer

This step-by-step process will help you pave your way in your technical writing career as a legal writer.

Decide on a Type of Legal Writing

Before you set out to get a degree, make sure to learn all the different types of legal writing. Some professions, such as legal brief writing and legal analysis, may demand a law degree. Less technical legal writing, such as feature articles, does not necessarily require a law degree.

Bachelor’s Degree

You usually need a Bachelor’s degree to work in legal writing. Depending on your area of focus, you may opt for a degree in law, business, journalism, or communication.

Gain Legal Industry Experience

A law firm will prefer legal writers with some experience in the field. You can practice legal writing through technical writing internships or freelance writing jobs to polish your skills and make you stand out in the market.

Build a Legal Documents Portfolio

Before you apply for a job, you must build a portfolio of samples. Use any work experience you have to develop a strong portfolio. If you don’t yet have a lot of experience, create example pieces to show potential employers.

Wrap Up

A legal writer creates a broad range of documents for lawyers, courts, magazines, newspapers, and corporations. No matter what type of legal writing you pursue, technical writing skills like research, communication, and organization are necessary.


If you are new to technical writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of being a technical writer, how to dominate technical writer interviews, and how to stand out as a technical writing candidate.