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Legal Drafting

How to Draft Legal Documents?

Legal drafting is a writing process that manipulates facts to achieve a predictable and planned legal result your client desires. Lawyers are often required to prepare documents that make the law operate in such a manner as to accomplish the client’s goals.

Legal Drafting Process

  1. Identify the issues and understand the client's goals.
  2. Identify the facts that define what must be addressed in the document.
  3. Research the law: (a) implicated by the facts; and (b) implicated by the subject matter of the document. 
  4. Use the law and facts to state the terms of the document that will accomplish the client’s goals. 
  5. Communicate the terms to the client.

Specific Steps in Legal Drafting

  1. Obtain information from the client and other sources necessary to fully understand the client’s goals and the commercial context in which the parties operate.
  2. Prepare a rough draft expressing the basic agreement the client contemplates.
  3. Analyse the rough draft and the applicable law to identify planning and structuring opportunities available to the client. 
  4. Redraft the agreement by applying the applicable law to accomplish the client’s planning, structuring, and underlying business goals. 
  5. Use the client to test the document to ensure it will be appropriate for their business needs, including the client’s administration of the document 
  6. Edit and revise the document to ensure the deal is stated using a format and language that are clear, concise, and functional.

Drafting legal documents is a skill that improves over time. With practice and attention to detail, you will eventually become more proficient in creating documents that effectively communicate legal concepts and arguments.

You can improve your drafting skills with our Legal English Guide.

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