Bench & Bar Kentucky, Vol. 66, No. 5, September 2002

2 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2006

See all articles by Richard A. Bales

Richard A. Bales

Ohio Northern University - Pettit College of Law


Transitions tell your reader, as Humphrey Bogart said to Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, "where you've been and where you're going." Transitions tie together sentences and paragraphs; they link familiar material (which you already have discussed) to unfamiliar material (which you are about to discuss). A missing or inappropriate transition can leave your reader with a confusing jumble of ideas.

Transitions exist at many levels. Large-scale transitions, such as road maps and transitional paragraphs, link large sections of the writing together. Small-scale transitions may be no more than a sentence or a clause or a word. Internal previews (First...Second...Third...) are a very effective way to link paragraphs or elements of a legal test.

This essay describes the types of transitions, provides examples of each, and includes tips for using transitions effectively.

Keywords: transition, legal writing, road map, internal preview

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Bales, Richard A., Transitions. Bench & Bar Kentucky, Vol. 66, No. 5, September 2002. Available at SSRN:

Richard A. Bales (Contact Author)

Ohio Northern University - Pettit College of Law ( email )

525 South Main Street
Ada, OH 45810
United States
419-772-2205 (Phone)


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