Things You Need to Think About Before and After You Write

Updated: Dec 17, 2018

by Frédéric Mégret, Associate Professor and Dawson Scholar in the Faculty of Law at McGill University

#1: Always try to focus on the one thing that you are trying to say. If you are saying too many things, you are not saying anything.

#2: If it is too obvious, it's not worth saying.

#3: You may want to focus on the debate about the thing, rather than the thing itself.

#4: The fact that someone has said it before does not make it true.

#5: Anyone can be right; it is harder to be interesting.

#6: Structure is not something that you superimpose on your thought; structure is what helps

you think through your ideas.

#7: If everyone is writing on it, don't.

#8: Listen to your inner voice.

#9: Read the few sources that matter thoroughly, rather than everything superficially.

#10: Keep it real.

#11: Be your own worst critic, but not to the point of numbing your audacity.

#12: Imagine that you are reading yourself. Now, do you understand what you are saying

without needing yourself to further explain it?

#13: Your reader should never have to guess what you are saying.

#14: Simplify the complex, complexify the simple.

#15: Don’t belabor the same point.

#16: Present arguments you disagree with under their best light

#17: Try to remember what intrigued you in the first place.

#18: Imagine that the people you are discussing are right in front of you.

#19: Think about your thinking.

#20: Backtrack to figure out where you went wrong.

#21: Be aware of the material conditions that make scholarship possible.

#22: You first draft was probably the best. But at the time, you didn't know why.



As long as it touches any law-related issues and written in a clear and straightforward manner, we are happy to publish your contribution. The point of publishing here is none other than making your perspective known. With strong editorial support and substantive review, this forum is meant to be a major platform for the first-timers who have little or no experience in English writing. By the same token, it should be seen as an effort in seeking and fostering a variety of new voices and, perhaps, finding a new scholarly direction.




Managing Editor

Leigha is an international human rights attorney. She received both her J.D. and an LL.M. in Civil & International Human Rights Law from the University of Notre Dame Law School, and a Masters of Professional Studies in international development from Cornell University. Her articles and writings on the implementation of international and regional human rights law and have been featured in the Notre Dame Journal of International and Comparative Law, the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, and the forthcoming book (Non)Sovereign Bodies: Law, Land, and Gender Justice.


Contributing Regional Editor (East Asia)

Zhe Huang is an immigration lawyer in New York and a researcher of immigration law and Chinese property law. She received her SJD degree from University of Wisconsin Law School. Her research at Wisconsin focused on the social responsibilities of property rights on state-owned and collective-owned land in China. Her work has appeared in several U.S. and foreign journals. She received her LLM from Shanghai Jiao Tong University Law School. She is a visiting scholar at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at NYU School of Law and her current research interests are comparative analyses between U.S. and China about the status of foreign workers and their rights to live and work under the immigration policies.


Contributing Regional Editor (Middle East and Africa)

Shams is a judge at North Cairo Primary Court, Egypt. Mr. Al Hajjaji started his career as a lawyer. Then, he joined the public prosecution bureau at the Egyptian Ministry of Justice. He holds a Doctorate degree (JSD) from University of California, Berkeley Law School (UC-Berkeley). In addition, he also holds three masters degree (LLM) from UC-Berkeley, American University in Cairo, and Cairo University (where he also earned his LLB).


Contributing Regional Editor (Americas)

Sebastián Boada Morales holds law degree from Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia) and an LL.M. (merit) in Banking Law and Financial Regulation from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He received scholarships from Colfuturo and the LSE for his masters degree, and he was awarded the academic excellence scholarship by Universidad de Los Andes during his undergraduate studies. He has been lecturer at Universidad de Los Andes. He was an elected member of the Board of Governors of Universidad de Los Andes, and he has been awarded the José Ignacio de Marquez prize for best scholarly article in Economic Law in Colombia. He was a runner up in the Latin American Banking Federation contest of specialized banking and finance articles. He wrote a book on financial derivatives in Colombia, and he has written book chapters and articles on Corporate Law and financial regulation. He is a senior associate in the Banking and Finance team at Baker McKenzie in Bogotá.