Law: Short articles and blog posts
Top tips on writing short articles and blog posts for law assessments
In your law degree, you may be asked to write a short article or blog post similar to those on law firm websites. Such writing styles have become an increasingly common means of communication for law firms to better engage with a general audience. This content usually takes the form of Frequently Asked Questions (‘FAQs’), short blog posts, or research insights.
Internet materials are a way to establish authority, demonstrate expertise and affirm to potential clients (or in your case, your lecturer) that you can communicate in a way they can understand. It also shows that the law firm and writer are across the latest legal developments.
Internet materials such as short law firm articles or blog posts are usually written for a general audience. This means you should adjust your frame of reference when writing and aim to produce a Plain English explanation of a recent case, for example, that has implications relevant to the firm’s area of practice, but also the general public.
However, keep in mind that although internet materials like blog posts do not usually have as extensive references as articles, for the purpose of assessments you are usually required to conform to the AGLC style guide for referencing. Check your assignment instructions carefully.
Writing short articles or blog posts
Understand your audience
Use Plain English when writing your article or blog post. For example, you should:
- Avoid using too much technical language and jargon.
- Explain legal concepts clearly and use short sentences.
Also, unless instructed otherwise, you will usually need to write for a broad audience who might include colleagues, possibly law students and potential clients.
If you are writing about a recent or proposed legislative change, for example, evidence is crucial for establishing your authority on the subject, and to convince your reader of the importance of its implications for their situation. As you are usually not advising anyone in particular, you need to keep your comments broad, but nonetheless based on the evidence.
Don’t forget analysis
Stand-out posts are those which provide a reasoned, yet clear analysis of the evidence. This includes drawing out the confirmed or potential implications of the recent changes to the law and hypothetical situations to which the changes might apply. Being able to apply critical thinking will also ensure the blog post stands out.
If you are writing on an “evergreen” topic, that is, one which is likely to stand the test of time, think about the types of questions clients might have. These are the questions which will drive visitors, but also serve as a guide to what you should prioritise when writing about legal topics for a general reader.
Write with the question in mind
When framing your reporting and analysis of recent changes or a well-established element of law, remember that most readers will access your blog through a search engine.This typically means they are searching for an answer to a particular question. In an assessment, this means reading the instructions carefully and ensuring that you have answered the question.
Use a clear structure
Break up information to improve readability. Make sure to present information in a clear way using appropriate structure, including headings if appropriate, as well as referencing.
Examples of law firm articles and blog posts
Employment law is a popular area of research insights for law firms. These research insights can come in the form of articles, blog posts and FAQs. They tend to focus on providing an overview of the law with key takeaways, implications, or next steps for potential clients.
In the examples below, you’ll see a range of different types of law firm articles and blog posts. Articles can be in the form of an answer to a FAQ or a more formal article with an argument and footnotes. Blog posts may be a little more informal, with less technical language and shorter summaries of the issues and insights.
Your assessment task may require a combination of the styles and formats in the following examples. Read your assessment instructions carefully to make sure you are addressing the elements correctly. If you need some help interpreting the instructions, you can book a consultation with a Learning Adviser.
I feel I am being discriminated against due to my pregnancy and parental responsibilities. What are my rights as a working parent?
This article is in the form of an answer to a Frequently Asked Question on a law firm website.
The article provides answers to commonly asked questions about pregnancy and parental responsibilities as well as possible avenues for resolving complaints. Note how the question is answered in a very structured way (introduction, headings for each sub-topic). It uses clear, direct language and refers to relevant legislation.
Your casual employee does not want to return to the workplace … but still receives JobKeeper. What can you do?
This is an example of a blog post by a law firm specialising in workplace relations. This is part of a series of legal insights the firm call ‘eAlerts’ posted on their blog.
Note how the article provides a variety of hypothetical situations, using subheadings to break up the information. It also refers to relevant legislation.
COVID-19: important changes to continuous disclosure provisions
This is an example of an article commenting on recent changes to legislation.
In areas of law which tend to have clients with a greater awareness of legal issues, the language can become more technical, and may take a position on controversial changes. The article below is a good example of this: the language is more technical and assumes some prior knowledge on the subject. It also provides a critique of recent legislative changes, and uses footnotes in the style of a more formal article or paper.