Drafting User-Friendly Emails and Documents

Product Type: Course

Courses - Webinar
Start Date & Time
2024-11-13 9:00 AM
End Date & Time
2024-11-13 12:00 PM
Online Provider

DescriptionMore Detail

Elicit positive responses through persuasive writing

Wednesday, November 13, 2024
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
via webinar only

Please note: This course will not be added to Courses on Demand. Courses involving professional speakers and skills-based workshops generally do not get added to Courses on Demand.

Who should attend: This course is designed for lawyers who wish to take their writing "from good to great". It is not a remedial course. Given the complex nature of legal subjects, it is challenging to formulate smooth prose. This course will offer concrete strategies to deliver information in a user-friendly format.

Learning level: All levels

Module I: Balancing Conciseness with Readability

At the beginning of this course, we will analyze how lawyers can reduce the length of their writing. We will focus on deleting words, reducing syllables, and shortening phrases.

Then, this course will form a bridge between conciseness and readability by examining the rare situations in which including an extra word can assist with absorption. For example, we will tackle raging debates—among writing nerds—over the word "that" and the phrase "in order to".

Next, this course will dive further into readability by demonstrating how lawyers can deliver complex information in a smooth fashion. We will address techniques such as:

  • understanding the limits of a reader's working memory
  • knowing the optimal length of sentences
  • delivering familiar information before unfamiliar information
  • deciding whether to reference an earlier part of a legal document or repeat the information explicitly
  • choosing whether to refer to individuals and corporations by their names or by other labels, such as "appellant," "Holdco," "trustee," etc.

Module II: Email Etiquette

This part of the course will focus on eliciting positive responses when communicating by email.

Through an interactive discussion, attendees will be able to ask questions and share their own opinions about the best practices for yielding prompt, positive replies to emails. Relevant topics will include:

  • email length
  • response time
  • subject lines
  • tone and formality
  • copying
  • pleasantries (such as, "I hope all is well.")
  • anything else relevant to email dos and don'ts

Module III: Persuasion

Finally, this course will explore persuasion in legal writing.

Writing persuasively is an elusive concept because all lawyers know that it's important, but it is often defined as the totality of clear, concise, and grammatically correct writing. This definition must be incomplete, since persuasion surely has its own unique qualities beyond clarity, conciseness, and correctness.

We will take a closer look at the ingredients of persuasion in legal writing, and, interestingly, we will find ourselves debating whether persuasion is truly a writing challenge or, in fact, a substantive legal challenge.


“Ryan Standil delivers seminars at our firm that focus on how to write unambiguous e-mails and documents. His seminars reinforce the importance of explaining legal matters to our clients in a way that they can easily understand. Our lawyers and students are engaged throughout Ryan’s sessions. I highly recommend this program to other law firms.”
Lisa Cunningham, Director of Professional Development, Wildeboer Dellelce LLP

You may also be interested in Clear and Credible Legal Writing on Wednesday, October 30, 2024.

Law Society of BC CPD Hours: 3 hours (this course does not contain professional responsibility and ethics, client care and relations, and/or practice management)

Course Instructor 
Ryan Standil — Write To Excite, Toronto

Register by Oct. 16/24
Regular Price
After Oct. 16/24
Live Webinar $269 $299
Live Webinar Articled Student $159 $159

Are you a member of the Indigenous legal community (lawyer/Articled Student/legal support staff/paralegal) or a non-lawyer Indigenous community member?
We value your contributions and encourage your participation in all of our programs. To increase accessibility, we offer a 50% discount* to all Indigenous lawyers/Articled Students/legal support staff/paralegals and a limited number of free online registrations to non-lawyer Indigenous community members (*discount applies to Regular prices, not Early Bird prices). Please contact Customer Service to find out more.

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Registration includes an electronic copy of the workshop materials.

CLEBC Programs Coordinator
Jessica Hodgins

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