Write with authority with Microsoft Word® Table of Authority and Contents

Writing With Authority

Writing well is an essential part of the lawyer’s skill set. Words are the lawyer’s tool of the trade. Presenting words in written form is often the key to successfully representing a client. As a result, lawyers should focus on creating top quality content. This is includes how the document looks (or “eye appeal”). Legal writing can be, um, somewhat dry at times and having some visual “breaks” can help your reader follow your winning argument.

This article, published in the Indiana Lawyer, will help you use Microsoft Word® to build an automatic Table of Contents or Table of Authorities. The tips discussed in this article can help lawyers draft a complex brief with limited distraction and maximum effectiveness.

What if your Table of Contents (TOC) and Table of Authority (TOA) automatically updated page numbers with any changes made to your document? After reading this article, never again will you hesitate to rearrange sections of your brief due to your fear of redoing the TOC/TOA. This article builds on the skills learned in previous articles to help you build automatic TOC and TOA.

Using the TOC as an Argument Summary

If you write your argument headings wisely, you can build a persuasive argument summary with the TOC. This section of the document is easy to overlook, but taking the time to use the headings in your document to summarize the main points of your argument can help your reader follow your logic.

Plus, as you prepare for oral argument, you can quickly refresh your recollection on how you thought best to present your argument originally and then highlight those areas you think will be most interesting to the judge. Your previous writing will help your future preparation.

A new perspective: outline view

Did you know Microsoft Word® has an outline view? Read this article for more information. This mode can help you see the overall flow of your document and easily re-arrange portions of your argument if necessary.

Keep in mind that you will want to follow the ideas presented in this article, since you will likely move headings, case cites, and sections of your documents to new pages. Having those edits update the TOC/TOA automatically allows you freedom to present the best argument, rather than worry about having to recreate the page numbers.

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