Faculty Scholarship

Is the Medium the Message? Unleashing the Power of E-Communication in the Twenty-First Century

Laptop and paper

The technological revolution has brought dramatic changes to the world of law practice, including legal research and writing, yet the basic conventions of legal writing have remained unchanged for decades. Memoranda and briefs today look much as they did early in the last century. Yet if the medium of legal communication has shifted from print to pixels, shouldn’t that lead to changes in the way legal analysis is communicated? This article considers the differences as a result of both writing and reading in a digital medium, and addresses the changes in writing that should flow from that, including changes in typography and document design, changes in document navigation and communicating organization, and the use of hyperlinks and images to create multi-dimensional documents. The article suggests that lawyers must make changes in traditional forms of legal writing in order to be effective writers for the 21st century. Download the paper at SSRN.

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