RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken

Subject: RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken
From: "Jason A. Czekalski" <topsidefarm -at- mva -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 07 May 2008 08:19:37 -0400

First, a great deal of legal writing is actually done by paralegals, not
lawyers. I have known TWs who have jumped to the law and paralegals who
have jumped to TW. In all cases, they have done quite well with the
career change.

As for the nature of legal writing, there is really no such thing as
"legal writing." It is no different than any other form of technical
writing. It is only the subject matter that is "legal." Yes, it has its
own styles and formats, but so do a lot of industries. The approach to
obtaining the information and presenting it is not that much different
than what you would do in any other peer-reviewed field.

The professors who teach writing at law schools will tell you that the
groups that have the easiest time with law school are those who have
science and engineering undergrad degrees (the ability to systematically
analyze a problem) and those who have done technical writing in any
field (the ability to gather information in a systematic manner).

Now, before the "How the $%^^& do you know" flames start flying: I am
finishing my second year at Massachusetts School of Law. The writing I
do for school is not significantly different from what I do at work.
Only the subject matter and the format are different (see my post from

Once again, Lauren, you are trying to argue false dichotomies and
differences that are immaterial. The fact is that non-fiction writing is
non-fiction writing. While the subject matter and format may change, the
skills necessary to be successful are the same. As long as the writer
can master the subject matter, they can write the material.

Jason A. Czekalski

> From: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
> Subject: RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken
> To: "'Bonnie Granat'" <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com>,
> > From: Bonnie Granat
> > In the classical view, technical writing is the general area
> > and all other
> > divisions are under it:
> >
> > Technical Writing:
> >
> > - Manufacturing procedure writing
> > - Business procedure writing
> > - Financial writing
> > - Government writing
> > - Legislative writing
> > - Software documentation
> > - Marketing writing
> > - Business writing
> > - Legal writing
> > - Scientific writing
> > - Civil engineering documentation
> > - Medical writing
> > - Proposal writing
> > - Grant writing
> > - Others
> >
> > In the classical view, all of the above are known as
> > technical writing.
> If this were true, then it should follow that a technical writer could be a
> legal writer. We know this is not true because lawyers are legal writers.
> So if legal writing and all the other types of writing that you mention are
> under the umbrella of technical writing are performed by people qualified to
> perform those types of writing, then what type of writing is a technical
> writer performing? Generic technical writing?
> Lauren

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