Law students generally don’t do a lot of coherent writing during the semester unless they take a writing class. While briefing cases is supposed to help with the analytical writing skills, students often stitch pieces of legal opinions together instead of expressing the ideas in their own words. As a result, when the time comes to take essay exams, students may find themselves out of practice. If the idea of writing things out intimidates you, you may want to try a rather informal technique to get into the habit of putting your legal thoughts on paper. Start a Journal of a Young Lawyer, or JOYL for short. Choose the writing medium you enjoy. Maybe, a new Moleskine notebook will keep you coming back (you can also get it at Amazon), or a private blog for tech fans. Spend about 15 minutes a day writing about something related to law that piqued your curiosity. It may be a case, a piece of legal news, an occurrence in class, or a discussion you had with your classmates. Write you thoughts and opinions in your JOYL as you would in a personal journal. The point is to remove any stress factors that you may associate with other types of legal writing and make it as casual as possible. It’s just an exercise for you. Don’t write about boring stuff, pick something interesting instead. (The comments you have written in your JOYL may even help you choose a topic for a student note or a paper later.) Try writing from different perspectives by playing a role of a lawyer, a client, or a law reporter. Pick different sides in an argument. If you do this brief exercise regularly, you may find it much easier to write about law when you need to do a more formal type of writing. The time commitment can be well worth the benefit. And let me know if the JOYL technique works for you.