There will come a time in either your personal or professional life when you’ll need to prepare a legal document. This document will outline all the contractual obligations amongst different parties or entities.
But how do you prepare a legal document?
This is a lengthy process and you want to make sure that you prepare your legal document.
Here’s what you need to remember:
A legal document is not something that you should write on a whim. You must make sure that you prepare an outline beforehand.
You should first consider whom you are writing for. Is this a Terms and Conditions for your website’s visitors? Is this a contract between an employer and an employee?
Once you’ve figured out your audience, you can figure out the tone and what to include. In these prior examples, you want the tone to be simple and straightforward. There shouldn’t be any ambiguity in such legal documents.
When you write your outline, you want to create bullet points of all the necessary information. This can include obligations, clauses, guidelines, violations, etc., that you have to include in the legal document.
Make sure you take the time to prepare your outline. Revise it a few times before you start drafting your legal documents.
Formatting is crucial when it comes to your legal documents. You want to print it on high-quality paper. You have to use a standard and professional font such as Times New Roman. A font for legal documents must be one that is legible.
You want to use formatting to improve the readability of the legal document. For example, make sure you use headings to separate the different sections of the legal document. You might wish to bold the headings to draw the reader’s eye easier.
Formatting also includes using concise language. A legal document is not the place to use embellished language. Avoid adverbs, use simple phrases, and have short sentences. You can use a service such as the Hemingway App to simplify your writing.
3. Writing Rules
Finally, there are certain writing rules to adhere to when writing a legal document. You should always use an active voice when writing. Avoid ‘ed’ as much as possible with your words. For example, ‘The parties agree to…’ is better than ‘the parties have agreed to…’
Make sure to add imperatives where required. These assert a legal obligation required by either party. For example, in an employment contract, ‘the employer must make each payment on the 1st of each month…’ is an obligation. This obligation gets asserted by the use of the word ‘must.’
Direct language is also crucial to assert demands. ‘Sign below’ is better than ‘Please sign below’ or ‘You can sign below.’
Prepare Your Legal Document
As a final step, show your draft to an attorney for a precise legal document review. A legal document takes time to complete so be patient before sharing it with others.
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