31-point checklist to write an award-winning legal article or blog
- Career Guide
- Aishwarya Agrawal
- January 25, 2023
Writing a legal article or blog can be challenging, but with the right approach, it can be done effectively. This brief will provide tips and guidelines for drafting a legal article or blog, including how to select a topic, conduct research, use clear and concise language, and format your work for publication.
Here you go!
Selecting a topic for the research
Selecting topics for law articles can be challenging, but with a little bit of thought and planning, you can find a topic that is both interesting and relevant to your audience. Here are some tips for selecting topics for law articles:
Consider your audience. Your topic should be of interest to your readers and relevant to their needs. Think about the types of people who will be reading your article and what they might be interested in learning more about.
Stay current. Legal issues are constantly changing, so it’s important to choose a topic that is timely and relevant to current events. This will help keep your readers engaged and ensure that your article is providing them with the most up-to-date information.
Think about your area of expertise. If you have a specific area of expertise, it can be helpful to focus on topics that are related to your field of study. This will help you provide your readers with valuable insights and information that they may not be able to find elsewhere.
Look for gaps in current legal literature. Research on the legal topic you are interested in, check for gaps in the current legal literature, and try to write about those gaps or unexplored areas, this can increase your chances of getting published in a journal or law review.
Explore controversial issues. Controversial issues can be a great source of inspiration for legal articles. These topics can spark debate and generate interest from readers, but it’s important to make sure you are presenting a balanced and objective perspective.
Utilize legal research tools. There are many legal research tools available online, such as LexisNexis and Westlaw, which can help you find recent court decisions, statutes and regulations on a specific topic. This can be a great starting point for finding a topic that is both relevant and interesting.
Keep in mind the legal trends. Keep an eye on legal trends and emerging issues, such as changes in laws and regulations, as these can be good sources for article topics.
Best practices to write a legal article
Drafting a legal article or blog can be a challenging task, but with the right approach, it can be done effectively. Here are some tips for drafting a legal article or blog:
Start with a clear thesis or main point. Your article or blog should have a specific focus or argument that you are trying to make. This will help guide the rest of your writing and keep your readers engaged.
Conduct thorough research. Before you begin writing, make sure you have a good understanding of the topic you are writing about. This will require you to research relevant laws, cases, and other sources of information that will help you make your argument.
Use clear and concise language. Legal writing can be dense and difficult to understand, so it’s important to use clear and concise language that your readers can easily understand. Avoid using legal jargon or complex terms that your readers may not be familiar with.
Use examples and anecdotes. To help illustrate your points, use real-life examples and anecdotes that your readers can relate to. This will help make your writing more engaging and easier to understand.
Use evidence to support your argument. Legal writing relies heavily on evidence to support your argument, so make sure you are using credible and reliable sources to back up your claims.
Be objective. In legal writing, it is important to be objective, meaning that you should not let your personal opinions influence your writing. You should present the facts and the law as they are and let your readers form their own opinions.
Edit and proofread your work. Before you publish your article or blog, make sure you have thoroughly edited and proofread your work. This will help you catch any errors or mistakes and ensure that your writing is clear and error-free.
Provide references and citations. Legal writing requires proper referencing and citations, so make sure you are providing the necessary information for readers to follow up on the sources you used.
Remember, a legal article or blog is a way to educate the readers on the legal topic, so make sure to make it easy to understand and informative.
Formatting your article
Formatting a legal article is an important aspect of legal writing, as it helps to make your work clear, organized, and easy to read. Here are some key points to keep in mind when formatting your legal article:
Use a clear and consistent structure. A legal article should have a clear and consistent structure that includes an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction should provide an overview of the topic and the main points you will be discussing. The body of the article should be divided into sections or paragraphs that present your argument and evidence in a logical and organized manner. And the conclusion should summarize your main points and provide your readers with a sense of closure.
Use headings and subheadings. Headings and subheadings are an effective way to organize your legal article and make it easy for readers to follow the flow of your argument. Headings should be used to indicate the main sections of your article, while subheadings can be used to break up the body of your article into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Use footnotes or endnotes. Legal writing often involves citing sources, so it’s important to use footnotes or endnotes to provide your readers with the necessary information. Footnotes or endnotes should be used to indicate the source of any quotes or information that you use in your article.
Use proper citation format. Make sure you are using the proper citation format, such as Bluebook or OSCOLA. This will help you properly cite the sources you use in your article and ensure that your readers can easily find the sources you cite.
Use clear and consistent font and formatting. The font and formatting of your legal article should be clear and consistent, so that it is easy for readers to read and follow. Use a font that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman or Arial, and use consistent formatting throughout your article.
Avoid using overly complex or specialized language. Legal writing can be dense and difficult to understand, so it’s important to use clear and concise language that your readers can easily understand. Avoid using legal jargon or complex terms that your readers may not be familiar with, as they can make your article more difficult to understand.
Use bullet points, tables, and figures to highlight important information. Bullet points, tables, and figures can be useful for highlighting important information and making your article more visually appealing.
Proofread and edit your work. Before you submit or publish your legal article, make sure you have thoroughly proofread and edited your work. This will help you catch any errors or mistakes and ensure that your writing is clear and error-free.
How does a legal article differ from a legal research paper?
A legal article or blog is different from a legal research paper in several ways, including the purpose, format, and audience.
Purpose: The primary purpose of a legal article or blog is to inform and educate the general public or legal professionals on a specific legal topic, whereas the primary purpose of a legal research paper is to present original research and analysis on a specific legal issue.
Format : Legal articles or blogs typically have a more informal and conversational tone, whereas legal research papers are more formal and academic in tone. Legal articles or blogs are shorter in length, usually around 800 to 1500 words, whereas legal research papers are much longer, typically around 10,000 to 20,000 words.
Audience : Legal articles or blogs are typically aimed at a broader audience, including the general public, legal professionals, and law students, whereas legal research papers are usually intended for a specific academic audience of legal scholars and researchers.
Language and Jargon: Legal articles or blogs try to avoid legal jargon and complex legal terms, and use simpler language that can be easily understood by a general audience. On the other hand, legal research papers use a more technical language and legal jargon, which is more appropriate for academic research.
Research and Analysis: Legal articles or blogs tend to provide an overview of a legal topic and its current state, whereas legal research papers provide an in-depth analysis of a specific legal issue. Legal research papers are expected to cite legal authorities, case laws and statutes to support the argument.
Citations and references: Legal research papers require proper referencing and citations, whereas legal articles or blogs often do not require formal citations, but it is still good practice to provide references and citations for the sources used.
Publication: Legal research papers are typically published in academic journals, law reviews, or as a part of a thesis or dissertation, whereas legal articles or blogs are typically published online or in legal publications.
Impact: Legal research papers tend to have a more significant impact on the legal community as they present original research and analysis on a specific legal issue, whereas legal articles or blogs have a more general impact as they are intended to inform and educate the general public and legal professionals about a specific legal topic.
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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
Content container, 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.
View example one
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.
View example two
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.
View example three
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Experts & views, a simple 5 step guide on how to write effective and popular legal articles.
Writing a great legal article is truly amazing. Not only it will be published in a good, well-known website or blog, thereby increasing your brand value and visibility, but also be read by many people who are in need of that information. It may help litigants, researchers, other lawyers or a reporter to understand the state of the law.
However, the best part is perhaps that you learn to think systematically and strategically when you write article after article. It is a fantastic exercise for a lawyer to write about practical legal problems continuously. It keeps your knowledge sharpened, arguments ready and reputation strong.
I learned about the importance of blogging about law simply by observing my friend and classmate Deepak Raju who later became my flatmate as we both went to work in Mumbai (although for different law firms). Deepak developed a keen interest in arbitration law early in his law school day after doing some arbitration moots. This happens to many people, but they usually lose steam later on. To keep his interest and engagement alive, Deepak began a blog called Lex Arbitri and even cobbled together a team with a few other law students to keep the blog regularly updated. He made sure to stay abreast of new developments in the area of arbitration law so he could regularly update his blog with the relevant information, news, judgments, and happenings. He kept this up for a couple of years till he graduated. By this time, he was well known for his knowledge of arbitration law in our small circle.
However, the best validation of his arbitration prowess came much later after he was recruited. He was working in a financial regulations team, mostly handling SEBI matters. This was quite far from arbitration work. However, very soon, people from the arbitration team in his office began to call him up for his opinion and inputs on various arbitration related questions. Those who worked in big law firms will know how rare this is. It is also a clear sign of massive respect.
Deepak quit this law firm within a year and went on to study at Cambridge. Now he is a successful practitioner of International Trade Law in Geneva, and I imagine a lot of his work involves arbitration.
I told you this story to give an idea of how long-term blogging can be extremely beneficial for law students and lawyers alike. If you think it’s only for law students, just take a look at the legal careers of the pioneers of legal blogging in India who frequently wrote on blogs like Spicy IP, Indian Corporate Law Blog, Law and Other Things blog, etc. Of course, tons of other blogs have been started and closed down too.
Anyway, if you are by now convinced that regular blogging is a great idea, you may want to know next how to write amazing legal articles that will be read by tons of people, get you many clients and lots of attention of the right kind.
I must acknowledge that I wrote the first version of this article for our Ace Your Internship Program as well as for students of the business law diploma course . Also, a lot of this content is borrowed from the writing manual followed by interns at iPleaders (created by yours truly), and we use this material to quickly train them. Those who take this training seriously, usually return from the internship with significant enhancement of ability to research and write, dozens of articles published in iPleaders blog, and a lot more practical knowledge of law than what they ever had. You can see what some of the former interns said about this transformation over here , it should give you an idea about the effectiveness of this step by step guide.
Before you begin to write an article/blog post
Before writing any article, first decide who is going to read this article and how they are going to benefit from it. Is it something that people are already looking an answer for? Will they google this topic? Are they in trouble and want an answer so that they are googling? What can you tell them through your article, what information can you share with them that will help them? How can you make it simple so that those who are not very smart can also understand what you are writing very quickly? Can you include tables, formats, bullet point lists? Will that make it easier to read the article?
Length: Aim for at least 1500 words (excluding footnotes and citations). More is fine. This is because Google gives more importance to long form articles in search result as opposed to very short articles. However, make sure to break down your article in many small paras with multiple headings and subheadings.
Language: Simplest possible language, must be very easy to read. Use simple sentences instead of complex sentences and easy words instead of difficult words. Only in school and college people get rewarded for using a difficult language, everywhere else, in real life, using difficult, complicated language results in being penalized and ridiculed. Please write in as simple language as possible. What makes your article valuable is quality of information and insights, how rare or useful the information or insight you are providing is, how easy it is to understand and read, and how nicely the content is flowing from one issue to another. Provide bullet points and tables everywhere possible. That will make your article stand out and valuable. Provide formats, samples, examples and practical advice wherever possible. Do not just write about sections and case laws.
Always ask people: Whenever you don't know the practical issues involved in a topic, ask someone. Call up lawyers who specialize in that subject and ask. Call up your teachers and ask. Ask people intelligent questions and learn real life practical insights and then write those in a lucid, simple language. Asking the right people is probably the quickest way to learn the real stuff, but it is also the most undermined legal research technique. Let it be your secret weapon. Cultivate a bunch of people you can call for information, insights and inside scoop. This is a big asset for a legal blogger.
Method: First create a structure, give your article a skeleton. Identify one or two important questions you will answer in the article. Around this structure develop a body. Information should be crisp and to the point so that the reader gets what he wants at one glance. Beating around the bushes frustrates the reader and he will switch to something better. Use Google docs for the writing instead of microsoft word, it helps to get other people to edit or comment on your article later, and there is no possibility of accidentally deleting the content.
Headings and subheadings: The entire article must be broken down according to headings and subheadings. The headings and subheadings should be complete and not partial or indicative. For example if you are writing an article of habeas corpus, and you have to write a subheading for a paragraph where you are writing which courts you can go to for getting this writ issued, the heading or subheading should be:
“Which courts may issue the writ of Habeas Corpus” And not “Which courts can issue this writ” or “Courts” or “courts with writ jurisdiction” etc.
If the focus is on habeas corpus then try and ensure that it is directly mentioned in most of the headings and sub-headings.
All headings and subheadings must contain a heading tag. See the place where there is a drop down list with mention of normal text, click there and tag each heading and sub-heading as Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3 etc.
Google reads the text written in heading and sub-headings and decides which article should be shown on the top of search results. Keyword rich headings and subheadings are always better for this purpose.
Do not write lengthy introductions and conclusions: no one cares. Just get to the point quickly. Imagine that you have to write an article on licenses required for hydropower generation. Now many law students will start this article by writing what is electricity, what types of electricities are used in India, what is the percentage of hydropower use in India and pros and cons of hydropower and ramble on before coming to the point of if licenses are required and what licenses are required and how to get them. That is crazy. Never write an introduction that is longer than 4-5 sentences. Same goes for the conclusion. One exception is if you have a great story to tell in the introduction which will hook the reader’s attention, go ahead. Only tell relevant stories.
Bullet points: more you write in bullet points and numbered lists, better your article will be received. It is a bad thing to write huge chunky paragraphs. Try to break things down in bullet points and numbered lists as far as possible.
For example, this is an old article, with accurate and good information on a famous website: http://www.indiainfoline.com/article/research-articles-personal-finance/cheque-dishonoured-a-step-by-step-guide-for-legal-recourse-113111500895_1.html
Still, the article mentioned below, new and from a not so famous website, ranks high above and gets 10 times more traffic because it is written with so many bulleted and numbered lists, and gives a step by step approach. It even includes a table: http://lawrato.com/indian-kanoon/cheque-bounce-law/dos-donts-in-case-of-a-cheque-bounce-16 This is the kind of article you want to write if you want to get a big audience and be appreciated. Break down chunky information into bullet points and numbered lists in your article. Provide steps wherever possible.
Grammar: Your work reflects your image. It is necessary that grammar is absolutely correct. Publish or submit for publication only after writing check for spelling, grammar and language errors. You can use free online tools for this purpose. If you can afford it, for about INR 5000, you can buy a good software for this as well.
Title: The document should be saved with an easy to understand, direct title. Many people are taught to write creative, convoluted, witty titles. These are counterproductive as you lose out google traffic due to this. Try to keep the title similar to how the reader will think of it or type in google when they search for it. Fancy titles are not helpful for the reader. Write a simple title, maybe in form of a question that the article answers.
Headings: The headings and subheading should be linked with Styles -> Heading 1 and Heading 2 of google document. Google search always prefer documents with the linked style instead of normal text.
Scannability: Most readers skim through the article to see if it is worth a read. So add more subheadings, bullet points and paragraph breaks.
Explain the technical terms: General public is not familiar with technical legal terms. If is is absolutely necessary to use big legal jargons then simplify them for readers who come from non-legal background.
Citation style: References should be cited properly through a hyperlink. Wherever possible, use hyperlink instead of footnotes.
Make it exhaustive, answer FAQs: Try to answer all the frequently asked questions about the topic. The article should be able to answer all kinds of secondary questions that may be raised in the mind of the reader.
How to research for these articles
The biggest mistake that everyone who started to write articles have made is to research, research and research until they know “enough”. It is never enough. They waste time aimlessly researching and don’t begin to write. You strategy should be to write everything that you research immediately. If you have researched for 10 minutes, write for at least 10 minutes (basically write down what you found out in your research) before you research more. Here is a step by step process.
Step 1: Deciding what is your research question and recognize what does not fall in the scope
Decide the exact question you are going to answer in your article. There cannot be more than 2 questions you answer in one blog post. If there are more relevant questions, no problem, write another article to address the same later. Note it and focus on the current article only.
Let’s say you want to write about how to file a consumer complaint. The target group is clear: people who faced a deficiency of product or deficiency of services as a customer may want to know more about how to file a consumer complaint. Great! This is the only question you will answer now. There may be more material available on how to make an appeal from the decision of a consumer court, but you are not going to read, research or bother about that. You are going to solely focus now on one and only question.
Step 2: Identify your headings and subheadings
Identify what are the smaller questions that you need to answer in order to answer the bigger question. For this, you may have to read up a bit. Don’t read everything, don’t read into great details. Read just enough, maybe scan through material just to understand what are the smaller questions you have to answer in order to answer the bigger question.
For instance, to answer the bigger question how to file a consumer case, you have to answer these questions first (just list down all questions that come to your mind):
Who can file a consumer case and who are not eligible
Can a business file a consumer complaint?
What documents you need to be able to file a consumer case
Can you file it yourself or do you need a lawyer?
Is it a good idea to argue your case yourself in consumer court.
Do I need to pay a court fee in order to file a case?
What information should go into a consumer complaint?
What evidence will be useful for me to collect and what do I need to provide to the court?
Can I draft my own consumer complaint?
Before hearing in the consumer court do i need to go through some other process.
How to decide which is the right court (having jurisdiction over the matter) to file the consumer case?
On what grounds can the court reject my application?
How much time can it take to decide my case?
How much compensation can I get?
And so on. Of course, there can be more questions. Think of a question or two more by yourself.
These questions will eventually become the headings and subheadings.
Step 3: Make the skeleton structure
Write down all the headings and Subheadings as a skeleton structure. It should look like something like this:
How to file a Consumer Complaint
In what kind of matters can i file consumer complaint, can i file a consumer complaint on behalf of a business, which court is right for me to file the complaint, which consumer court will have territorial jurisdiction, which consumer court has financial jurisdiction, what all do i need to file the consumer complaint, what documents do i need to produce, what kind of evidence do i need to produce, can i file and fight my consumer case myself, what is the process involved in a consumer case, what are the different stages how long will each stage take, how can i assess if i have a good case, what are the important factors, potentially how much compensation can i get, step 4: populating the skeleton.
Now that your skeleton is ready, you can start filling up the blanks with answers to these specific questions. All your research will now be directed to answer these limited questions. Remember that there can be more questions added to any skeleton with unlimited possibilities. It is possible to write a book on any topic, even on how to file a consumer case. However, your job here is to just write enough to cover 1500-2000 words. If you want to write more and answer important questions, do so in another article. When you are done with answering all these questions, you are done with your article.
Caution : Please do not start to write or aimlessly research till you have your skeleton structure in place. This will save time and make you a structured thinker.
Step 5: Review and edit
Many people skip this critical step. They never become amazing writers. First run your article through spell-check and grammar check. There are excellent softwares. If you can’t afford one please get a friend or a mentor to do so. Ask them what is good about the article and what is it’s weakness. Add, remove, edit content with the objective of polishing your article. Do not overdo it though, ship it quickly. Not more than 24 hours after finishing in any case.
Other important points:
Sources: Easy sources are news articles and blogs but since the aim is to publish them it would be better that the work is original and informative, use bare-acts and judgments (if applicable) for proper information and articles as references. Also ask lawyers about the topics. Call them up and ask.
Improve before submitting: Take pride in your work, try to find out ways to improve your work with tables, graphs, charts or anything at your disposal so that your article is superior and more helpful than anything else available on the internet.
Primary and secondary research sources: Start by researching from secondary sources for the broad overview. The secondary sources are articles, journals, blogs etc. Verify your research with primary sources like case laws, and bare provisions etc.
Answer a few very important questions in your article, and provide a lot of valuable information that will help the readers.
All the best! Hope you have a great time writing some amazing articles. Feel free to reach out to me if you have problems on my twitter @law_ninja. Feel free to ask me as many questions as you want, I will surely reply! You can also add me on linkedin and message me over there. I reply quickly!
It is one thing to read about how to write an article, another to actually do so. Make sure you attempt to write an article in next 24 hours! If you are not able to, maybe you need to do a structured program with us. Take a look at our flagship course here.
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- May 22, 2021
LEGAL ARTICLE WRITING
Author : Arushi Sharma, L.LM. (Intellectual Property Laws), Advocate, Delhi High Court
“The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experienced.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
As much as many people feel the need to support or criticise lawyers or the field of legal profession per se, it is also noted that this field has a variety of experiences that await the life of law enthusiasts. The journey from studying for the entrance exams to be able to get into the desired law school and from learning about laws to graduating is an experience of its kind.
While aspiring lawyers may sometimes find it difficult to recall so much during their exams, writing for an exam is way different from writing a legal article. Indeed, the answers contain a lot of points such as case laws, examples, pointers for explanations along with different meanings connecting the whole structure in some way, an article is a more well-thought-out written piece that is meant for more than just the eyes of the faculty.
Throughout law school, many students despite being good orators and even better researchers, struggle with the idea of writing an article. This is why there’s a growing need for learning the art of legal article writing which has more benefits than students can comprehend. A legal article is just another form of an article written in connection to and about any topic concerning the legal field. Even though anyone with proper research skills, a pragmatic mindset and the will to explore the issues systematically can write a legal article, it is also imperative to note that one may need the help of technical jargons used in the legal field to enhance the flow and effectiveness of the article with which it is to be conveyed to the readers.
The right technique, as explained in this essay, can help anyone from a law student to a litigant or a researcher looking to have a firm grasp on legal fields due to the many ways in which this technique helps. Being a lawyer doesn’t mean simply defend your client, or seek justice or distinguish between right or wrong, or collect proof to support your arguments, what most people don’t realise is that it is much more than that. True, one may be into litigation and maintain a balance throughout their lives between their work and leisure time but giving something back to society has its own merits.
Writing about important issues that a law student/lawyer feels deeply about and mentioning certain possible reforms go a long way in enhancing one’s personality. It helps in not only sorting your thoughts but asserting your opinions about change and doing something which connects your conscience to a deeper level, thereby creating something new for the world to see and experience.
In this article, we will discuss important points to be kept in mind while writing a legal article, a few common myths that people have in mind regarding this form of writing, and for reference purposes the names and works of those who have managed to inspire others through their articles in this field.
Common Mistakes Made By Writers
High-quality writing abilities, particularly for lawyers and paralegals, are important in the law industry. Employers are also asked for a written sample if they apply for a legal job. Providing an unsatisfactory sample could harm your ability to land the job. On the other side, you can take a leg up on the market with an outstanding write study. It is an intelligent idea to construct a sample portfolio during school and early work. This portfolio should contain the finest work in various genres.
Below are five typical errors in the application of writing samples made by writers:
Bad Writing Sample
The red flag for employers is a poorly-written sample that involves fundamental spelling, word choices, sentence building or other consistency concerns. Below are several difficulties to be observed:
• Clarity of penalty
• Range of Vocabulary
• Redundancies and/or text mistakes •
• Voice and sound
• Arranging material
• Transitions and flow
• Structure of punishment
• Material holes
Have a mentor, professor, co-worker, or other trusted professional review your writing samples. If your writing skills need work, take a few writing classes or hire a tutor to help you improve your writing.
Although candidates pay particular attention to producing fault-free curriculum vitae and cover letters, their samples are also reviewed more closely. Many of them have been published publicly in law analysis and journals or have been sent to the court, and we witnessed many samples of typographical mistakes. A single form is sufficient to throw suspicion on the examiner and exclude you.
Samples of off-topic
Check to ensure that the samples meet the request of the boss and the work criteria. For eg, you do not apply your senior term paper on psychosocial behaviour while seeking an associate position. Give a demo that proves you can do the work you're applying for instead. For starters, you can file a brief, petition or memorandum of Law if you apply in the litigation department. When you qualify to be a company paralegal, send a request, a trust arrangement or a related contract document.
Infringement of orders
Follow the instructions of the work ad or potential employer for sending written samples, particularly for:
Sample sort : Ensure that the sample type that you send (i.e., short, communication, motion) suits the request of the supervisor in the format, style and substance of the submission. If your portfolio doesn't contain a sample, create a new sample for your composition.
The number of written samples : Don't give too many or too few samples. Where a number is not specified, the good rule on the thumb is two samples (at least one and max three samples). Employers of occupations have no more than three samples to read.
Duration of report writing : Follow the directions of the employer on your sample rate. In law, writing excerpts appear to be longer (5-10 pages) in the employer industry so that you can test your capacity to argue and discuss points of law with persuasiveness.
How to submit : Some employers will like e-mail attachments that are sent to their samples, while others want them to be sent to their address.
Confidential Knowledge Disclosure
Writing samples in practice requires extra attention because of attorney/client rights, classified details and questions about secrecy. If you send samples in writing of a past or pending event or transaction even if it is a closed or closed case, it is necessary to delete both parties' addresses, customer names and any information that is sensitive or confidential. You should overwrite fake identities, statistics and details to maintain the flow of the content.
Points to remember for Legal Article Writing
How to write is what you cannot teach, it comes from inside, the thoughts, the subject you work with. The legal article however is distinct from the other type of writing, which has to be right. You should write only if you're interested in the subject, otherwise, it's only a regular piece of paper with little significance. Two aspects are checked, as a law student or also as a client:
● Knowledge in interpreting
● Capacity to compose
And in the art of writing legal papers, one must be fine.
Any rules must be kept in mind until a legal article can start to be published.
a) Headline of the article - Why should you and not the others read your article? The headline of the article must be important, enticing, but it mustn't be carried away as all suggestions are mentioned, meaningful, meaningful and related to the document.  Often a personal statement writer can be engaged to brainstorm and a personal name or logo can be created to assist with this. If they don't, the reader will grasp the essay and continue. The standard of your item is also decided in the first paragraph so aim to take an impressive start since the first impression is the last.
b) To the point - The item should be specifically connected to the subject and not distracting from it, as the reader loses track in that relation. It must be short and narrow. If you want to make this brief, the article would draw more readers, too, so it is easier for the reader to read it. Either the paper must ask a question, make a point or offer a solution. The writer must read the subject in the paper.
Create a checklist even before you submit a draft so the item must be flowing, one thing and the other in one format. The writer does not jumble up so he must note first that it is necessary to state the facts and then to address the problems, then to apply the regulation (which areas of law one is using), and then to evaluate and eventually conclude.
c) Usage of legal jargon - Audience must be known and their words selected. If a person writes to a common man, they ought to avoid complicated words and the same should be clarified in the layman's language if their use is appropriate. When you write for a contest, you should use your legal vocabulary, so you shouldn't pretend to want to flaunt it.
d) Proof - This article can include a survey or a graph to show one point, bringing more focus and adding importance to the article. "Should Section 377 be legalized, for example?" These are small things, but they are of considerable value, sometimes you should add pictures when they're eye-catching. There are just so many NO photos, but one or two wouldn't matter at all.
e) Abstract - If an essay is not quite detailed, an abstract must be given. The abstract can contain one to three paragraphs and express the questions with which the essay deals.
f) Case Laws - One should strive to use various jurisdictions to help the reader grasp the situation, and the author even levers on other authors so one should not use cases just for the sake of it. It's equally necessary to list instances, there are many means of quoting, but the quotations from the Bluebook still work.
g) Conclusion - A conclusion to be straightforward must be drawn in the paper. The whole essay must be summarized and an alternative should be given or a comment made and the explanations behind your statement should also be provided.
In addition to this fundamental thing, the research study is another important thing. First, you can begin your study by going to the library, a university library or public library, where books can be read about the problem. The author could then switch to the search engine. The database has to be correctly searched and used. Writing and learning about the subject is very helpful with a few legal sites like HeinOnline, LexisNexis, etc. The study must be translated from generic to particular. Get an approach to the essay and aim to stay in one-two main places rather than writing all about the subject, which would help to simplify the article, instead of covering the entire topic. The legal article thus makes a great deal of sense and would earn appreciation if it instills everything together with imagination and originality.
Even though we see an increased level of awareness in recent times, a tool like legal article writing can help with a lot of issues that our society faces at present.
Knowing more about how to draft an article which is not only impressive or catches the eye of the reader in one instance, enables us in our personal growth as an individual, as a lawyer, as a researcher and as someone who wants to convey a message/point through their research work.
1. Adams, Kenneth A. (twenty-third August two thousand six). "Copyright and the Contract Drafter" (PDF). New York Law Journal. Retrieved nine April two thousand eighteen.
2. "Bryan Garner on Plain English". plain language.gov. Plain Language Action and Information Network. Retrieved twenty-fifth February two thousand eighteen.
3. Butt, Peter (twelfth September two thousand two). "What is plain language law and why use it?". Law and Justice Foundation. Retrieved twenty-fifth February two thousand eighteen.
4. "Legal Citation Guides/Authorities (U.S. Based)". Harvard Law School Library. Twenty four August two thousand seventeen. Archived from the original on twenty-sixth February two thousand eighteen. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
 Citation Guides from Foreign Jurisdictions". Harvard Law School Library. 24 August two thousand seventeen. Archived from the original on twenty-sixth February two thousand eighteen. Retrieved twenty-fifth February two thousand eighteen.
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Article Writing: A Guide for Law Students
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7 Tips to Make the Grade as an Essay Writer
- Tips for Students
- Law Student
- tips for students
- writing skills
Article written by Ola Alice, Babcock University, Third year LLB.
The desire to communicate, be it through text, word of mouth, signs or with the use of symbols, is one that every human has. There is indeed a need for every human to pass their thoughts and ideas across to other people. In fact, it can be concluded that everyday transactions or interactions require one means of communication or the other. So, where we find ourselves in a world where communication is key, what then is stopping us from being the best at it?
A common form of communication is writing. Written words could be said to be an inscription or even a visual combination of letters. By writing, one does not only think of communicating, but one also considers how to write in a clear, concise, and error-free manner. This is because of the prevalent need to catch the reader’s attention and sustain it through the body and up to the end of the written work. Writing requires a lot of skills which cannot be learnt in a day. This is why writers are advised to read more and learn more so they develop better writing skills and sharpen the skills they already have. A writer considers introspection before writing, and this is why most written works reflect not just the idea the writer is trying to pass across but also bits of the personality of the writer. What does this bode for future lawyers?
For law students, writing should be a second nature. This is because writing helps to prepare on for a developing world. Writing expands one’s knowledge and develops the writer’s research skills. It also provides the writer and reader with a wealth of information related to a specific topic. In addition, it fosters competitive spirit and self-confidence by improving one’s command of English, fluency, and makes one grammatically sound. This includes building an astounding vocabulary. A skill every law student should therefore have is great writing skills.
One of the most common forms of writing that lawyers and law students around the world resort to is article writing. For clarity, an article as defined by Toppr, is a piece of writing written for a large audience. Other definitions go on to include that it is intended to be published in a newspaper, magazine, journal, or the internet. One can say that the reason for this addition is based on the fact that the primary goal of writing an article is to affect the world by giving information, statistics, or viewpoints. Having stated this, it is paramount to state the basic principles any writer should know.
Invest in Building your Grammar and Spelling
One critical necessity of any writer is recognizing the fundamentals of grammar and spelling when writing. Before your readers see your work, double-check that it is all spelled correctly and free of grammar errors.
Learn the art of Editing
Can an article be published without being edited? No. After writing, editing is a step in the writing process. Before producing their final work, writers typically go through a number of revisions and re-drafts. Enhancing a piece of writing’s overall quality is the aim of editing. This entails making sure the language is clear and the structure and argument are both understandable.
A good writer never stops reading. Reading books and newspapers is a great way to pick up vocabulary words and valuable idioms. Reading allows you to express yourself and learn new terms. You can use this terminology to improve your writing abilities.
You cannot be a good write if you do not write often and create your own original works. Establishing a daily writing habit is something that can assist your writing. When you do this, you are more likely to fall into the writing “flow” and make progress more quickly than if you only wrote on the weekends. For instance, you will be able to generate higher-quality work if you set aside an hour every day or two hours on Saturdays for writing.
The goal of article writing as emphasised earlier is to expand one’s knowledge and one way this can be achieved is by conducting research. It’s crucial to conduct research on the subject of your essay before you begin writing. This will make it easier for you to write content that is accurate and instructive. Additionally, a thorough comprehension of the subject will enable you to write with more assurance and impact.
Set writing goals
Setting goals will keep you motivated and focused, which may be particularly useful when taking on more difficult writing assignments. You may also check how much you’ve progressed over time by tracking your progress. This can cover a variety of topics, such as how many words you want to write every day or how much time you want to devote to each writing assignment.
As important as it is to be a good writer, so is practising. The journey to being very good at writing is not a straight one. Writers often face writers block, produce shabby work, or even fail so identify errors in their articles. Practice is one of the finest methods to get better at writing. You will get better at writing as you practice. So, set aside some time to write down your thoughts and ideas. If you want to keep your writing secret, try keeping a diary or journal; otherwise, try blogging. Try different forms of writing too – fiction stories, newspaper articles, magazine articles, essays, reviews, etc.
Article writing takes a different format compared to other types of writing. An article is essentially made up of a title, the body and conclusion.
- Title : It must relate to the reader’s interest and be catchy. The title could be limited to not more than 5 to 6 words. Think beyond the box to impress your audience or readers with just one statement and heighten their interest in reading the rest of your content.
- Body : The main section of an article, which receives the majority of the marks, is the body. Usually, there are three to four paragraphs in the article’s body.
- Conclusion : The final paragraph of an essay should include elements like recommendations, expectations, opinions, and appeals so that readers will be satisfied with it.
The likelihood of persuading the judge or the jury to rule in one’s favour increases if a lawyer can present all of their points in a clear and concise manner. This means that in order to be a good and successful lawyer, one must possess the capacity and aptitude to persuasively communicate legal ideas through a continuous writing process. In addition to preparing a speech for a courtroom, producing excellent blog posts and website material can help establish a powerful online presence. With this, writing is a key skill every law student and lawyer must hone.
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How to write a Legal Article: A Guide on Writing an Article
This article on ‘ How to write a publishable quality article: A Guide for Law students ‘ was written by Samar Jain, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Writing a legal article that has great quality is a skill that cannot be achieved in a small time but that skill can be developed over the years with time. When an article is published in a known blog or a website, it has certain benefits like the recognition of your knowledge and skill. It also results in the increase of your value as a brand and visibility. It also helps people when they read those articles when they need information. In particular, it helps the researchers, advocates, reporters, litigants, etc., to gain a deep understanding of that topic.
The exercise of writing a legal article is worth every time spent by a lawyer as the knowledge is sharpened, reputation strong, and skills for argumentation ready.
Article of Publishable Quality
A legal article that can be published refers to a writing portion that is centred around an idea although based on something old or already available in the domain but has something new and interesting. If the idea is something old and not new and interesting, the article does not have the quality to become a published one. It is to be noted that the article is also not of publishable quality if the idea is new and not related to the previous/old research and also if the ideas are numerous and not revolving around a single novel idea.
It is to be understood that here the word new is not used in the same sense as the original. As compared to the original, the quite literal meaning of the word new is not primary or the work which has not previously existed.
However, it does refer to something which has been known or seen, or used. An original idea to get the legal article published is to bring attention to something. A little bit of information that is new can also be used as a variation. Thus to get one’s article worthy of becoming publishable, the focus must remain on the freshness of the material rather than originality.
To understand what type of element of newness makes a legal article of publishable quality these are the following three types of commonly used methodology:
- First Type : Approaching New Information is a Traditional Manner. It is usually considered to be the best move by article writers who are not professionals when a new fact/thing/ evidence is provided with the assistance of an already accepted idea. In this type of article, rather than the creation of a new approach, the focus is on the support of an already existing approach through the medium of presentation of a new fact/thing/evidence. This new fact/thing/evidence can be obtained in any manner like archival research, results from laboratory experiments, archival research, or also government data. However, just having a new fact/thing/evidence won’t serve the function of getting one’s article published. To get the element of publishing, there must be a link and connection between the new and old. The new fact/thing/evidence is not to always be in line with the old theory, it can be disapproved or refined also but if the old theory is to be disapproved, it must be backed by a strong set of information.
- Second Type : Approaching The Old Information in a New Manner. Usually, professional article writers take this approach in which the old evidence is approached in a new manner. This type of approach is usually preferred by those writers who have a sturdy grip on the already existing methodologies and theories which is something an amateur is trying to get its grip on. In this methodology, the author when presenting the already available data is working on a new way to present the same perhaps a new theory/ design/ method. It is to be kept in mind that just like the previous type of writing a legal article of publishable quality, this approach to having a new approach will not help. Just claiming that a manner of presenting information has more power than the old one and is helpful but what is needed is that the new manner of presentation of information must be in sync with the old information.
- Third Type : Combining Old Information and Traditional Approach in a New Manner. In this type of article writing, which is mainly used by amateurs authors, the old information and traditional approach in a new manner. It neither provides new evidence nor a new approach, it finds the middle way and establishes a connection between the approach and information. This approach is more common with those authors who have strength in several of the disciplines as for these authors finding the linkage is not tough and have the understanding for them.
How to write legal articles of publishable quality?
The best strategy which is to be used is to research something and write it down immediately and not just aimlessly research. If did the research for let’s says 15 minutes, at least spend 20 minutes writing down that research. This is the beginner’s step for carrying out research.
This is the following process to be used to carry out research:
- Decide the research question and the need to recognize what falls under the category of that question.
- Identification of headings and subheadings- The suitable Headings and subheadings need to be identified which can only be done when one has some information. If the subheadings are identified and answered, then the headings can easily be answered.
- Making a Rough/Skelton Structure- Once the headings and sub-headings have been identified, they need to be put in order and form a proper sequence and structure and form a skeleton.
- Filling information in the structure/skeleton- After the structure has been identified and set, information needs to be filed in the headings and subheadings. The answer must be specific to the question.
- Revision and Editing- The last step which everyone misses when they are writing articles is the failure to recognize language mistakes.
Some other points to keep in mind while writing a legal article:
- Length- One is to remember that the length of any article must be between 1500-2000 words. If this range is exceeded, the article becomes lengthy and the reader loses interest in the same. The target of communication of information to the people is lost.
- Language- The language used must be a simple one with minimal use of complex words and sentences and the use of technical words/jargon should be avoided. However if technical does need to be used, the meaning of the same must be provided.
- No Lengthy Introductions and Conclusions – The Introduction of the article must be crisp and brief. It should highlight the topic and make the reader aware of what he is to expect if he proceeds to continue reading the article. Similarly, the conclusions must be kept brief and only summarize what the article was all about. Typically, the introduction and conclusion must be within the range of 100-150 words. Bullet Points and Numbered Lists must also be used as helps in the easy structuring of the article and the easy division of information.
- Worthy Title- The title used in the article must be in synchronisation with the rest of the article. When one reads the article, the reader must become immediately aware of what the reader is to expect. A little faint idea must be conveyed from the title.
- Use of Primary and Secondary Sources- Depending upon the information conveyed in the article, primary sources like Literature Reviews, Reports, Speeches, and Photographs, and Secondary Sources like Scholarly Articles. Analysis and Interpretations must be used. It lends an element of credibility to the article.
- References and Citation Style- Any use of references must be given preferably in a hyperlink style to help in easy linkage with the already published information. Also, the citation style used must be preferably the one that is used globally by academicians and professors.
The most common myth and advice about writing a legal article of publishable quality is the need for good ideas and topics. However apart from the good ideas and topics, what is also needed is how should the topic be presented and in what style and manner.
List of References:
- How to write a publishable quality article, India, available at: https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2019/07/18/how-write-publishable-journal-article-opinion (Visited on November 16, 2022)
- How to write an effective and popular legal article, India, available at: https://www.legallyindia.com/views/entry/a-simple-5-step-guide-on-how-to-write-effective-and-popular-legal-articles ( Visited on November 16, 2022)
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8 Requirements for Writing a Legal Article that will Get Read
Pretending that working from home is good, people are equal. opinions are not., 10% pay rise for all goodbye motivation, showing appropriate initiative.
With so much practice, why is it that lawyers are so terrible at writing articles? Are we just lazy, selfish, myopic? I don’t think so – I just think nobody’s ever told you how to actually write an article that will get read.
So lawyers get to write a lot of articles. It’s a pretty safe bet that you either have, or will soon, have to do an article (or many) where you need to summarise a case, propose a point, explain a concept or some other useful kind of publication to go into your firm’s resources for its clients.
As a general rule, these articles take hours to produce. You often need to research a point, read a long case, understand and articulate the core issues, produce a draft, get feedback and amend it, then finalise the draft and submit it for publication. The process differs, but the fact is the same – writing an article costs lots of money.
Audience for your Legal Article
Before you even finalise your topic, you need to consider your audience. Who are they, what do they know.
The best way to do this is to create a person in your head, which many writers call an avatar. Here’s an example: Jane is a 34 year old mother of two, she works full time and her kids stay with her parents during the day. Her husband is away often working for a mining company. Jane doesn’t have a lot of spare time, but needs to stay up to date to ensure she manages her business well.
See how detailed it is? You can go further if you want. In fact, the more detailed the better.
Of course, this won’t be representative of everyone your article goes to, but it is instrumental in helping you find the right voice in your article. You’re not then writing in a void – you’re writing TO someone.
Once you accept the reality that you are writing to someone, rather than AT someone, a lot of the issues facing many legal articles will immediately dissolve out of your writing. Your language will automatically be more appropriate, you will chose a headline and image and style that are more appropriate and personal – in all, if you only do one of these things – do this.
Legal articles should be engaging, arresting, informative, and succinct. Anything else isn’t good enough.
Your Article’s Headline
Your headline should tell me why I care about your article. It should be about ME, not you.
Things like “Franchising Update” or “Insolvency News” are boring as hell and don’t tell me anything. I’m not going to click them unless my mouse slips or they come from a source that I particularly love reading.
Avoid headlines that are too clever. It’s tempting to get all fancy with your headlines, but it’s got to be immediately meaningful – if I can’t figure out what it’s about, then I’m probably not going to click on it.
In short – actually turn your attention to your headline, and ensure that your marketing team does the same. If it’s boring to you, do you really think anyone else will click on it?
The Extract of the Article
Your extract serves 1 major purpose – it articulates to a person whose attention has been grabbed by your headline a little more about your article. It needs to be pithy, catching, and explanatory – and short.
Lots of extracts I see are simply the first few sentences of the article – this is just lazy. Normally it’s too long, gets cut off mid-sentence, and isn’t as informative as it needs to be.
Good use of extracts can include:
- asking a question;
- making a statement;
- offering a benefit.
Opening Sentences Matter
If you’ve convinced me to click on your article, then you also need to convince me to read it.
Ever wondered how many people actually make it to the bottom of your article? I have – and so I started measuring it. Answer: most people don’t.
Your opening sentence MUST align with your headline and your extract – they need to tell the same story, but not in the same way. The opening sentence should offer enough about the article that the person wants to read the rest. If should not contain the answer to the question, the benefit you offered, or anything else that means there is no need to read the rest of the article.
Don’t mention case names, legislation, or anything else that will put your reader into a coma. Remember the overarching rule – it’s about ME, not you.
Images – They need to Exist, and be Relevant
Ah, images. As soon as you finish reading this, head over to your LinkedIn feed and find a few law firms – then tell me what their image was.
I’ll bet that the majority are:
- no image at all;
- a picture of the author.
Do you know why? It’s because nobody has bothered to upload a relevant, eye catching image. Instead, LinkedIn is just picking up the default, which is normally the first picture it finds – for law firms, this seems to be a logo or the author in the bio at the end.
It’s lazy. it’s boring. It’s not going to capture the attention of the fast scrolling reader on social media – so why do it?
For the sake of 5 minutes you can find an image that is 1000% better. If not you, then your marketing team.
Your Legal Writing Style
So, you’ve convinced your reader to get into the article and they are working their way through – how do you keep their attention?
There are a few tips that can at least have people scroll to the end, even if it’s quick:
- short sentences and paragraphs are better than long ones
- break up your text with headings, images or extracted quotes
- larger fonts are better than smaller ones (if you can influence this) – and read better on mobile
Language – Is Legalese OK?
I’m sure you know this intuitively, but do you practice it? Your language should be appropriate to your audience.
If in doubt, then simple language is better than complex language.
Avoid jargon at all costs – if it’s absolutely necessary then you’ll need to explain it, and that has a tendency to break up the flow of your article pretty badly.
If your article reads like an assignment, or a case note for Uni – then you’ve failed and need to start again.
Here’s a simple test: would your grandparents read the article, know what it was about, and have the stamina to get to the end? If so – you’re on the right track.
Length – How Long should a Legal Article Be?
An article, as with every piece of legal writing, should have as many words as it needs – no more, no less.
So in your next legal article, how about using this list as a checklist? Do you know somebody who needs a refresher or is prone to boring articles that make you cry? Well then – send this to them, and hope for the best!
How much should lawyers try to influence their clients, enough with the definitions already, should you just phone your opponent.
Fantastic information and it indeed building my writing skills.
that is the most appropriate and relevant tips for the legal article writing as well as helpfull for law student those who faces many problems to writing the articles….
thanks Ishu – I’m glad you found it helpful
Hello! I am Jeremiah ontomwa I would like to get the skills for writing legal articles, how it works and how I can earn out of it. Thanks in advance.
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