Hollywood likes to focus on drama in the courtroom, but most lawyers will tell you they explain and persuade through the written word. The analyses we tackle are often complex, and our audiences typically have more briefs or emails to read than time to read them. Working for Intel’s General Counsel has reinforced for me how critical writing well is for our success. And many of the skills I use now trace back to my time clerking for Pamela Ann Rymer of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

“The Judge,” as we affectionally called her, was a beautiful person and a hardworking, dedicated public servant. She was among the few women shortlisted for the Supreme Court in the 1980s and served on the Ninth Circuit for over 20 years. She was also an outstanding writer and her approach to writing opinions is a great model for legal writing of all kinds. Here are four principles I learned from The Judge and that all lawyers would do well to follow.

Never Bury the Lead

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