The Power of Brevity: Adopt Abraham Lincoln's Habits
Julie A. Oseid
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)
Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, Vol. 6, 2009
Drawing inspiration from Abraham Lincoln's writing and writing habits, this article focuses on the use of brevity in legal brief writing. Part I defines “brevity.” Part II focuses on the persuasive power of brevity in legal writing. Part III reviews Lincoln’s legal career, focusing in particular on his use of brevity. Part IV examines Lincoln’s use of brevity to persuade as President by considering three speeches: the First Inaugural, the Gettysburg Address, and the Second Inaugural. Part V explores Lincoln’s writing and editing habits, and it urges lawyers to adopt Lincoln’s habits of writing early, visualizing audience, and ruthlessly editing. Lincoln worked hard for his eloquence and persuasiveness, and by adopting his habits we lawyers can also increase our eloquence and persuasiveness.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: legal writing, legal rhetoric, writing habits, brevity, Abraham Lincoln, persuasion, First Inaugural, Second Inaugural, Gettysburg Address
Date posted: July 16, 2009