CONTRIBUTOR RESOURCES
Drafting Guidelines

Scope

A Top Tips in Ten Minutes presentation provides expert guidance from an experienced practitioner. Top Tips offer key points of conversational advice about a specific topic. A Top Tips presentation is designed to be read in ten minutes or less and can be put into practice right away.

Title

The ICLE staff lawyer may suggest the title of your Top Tips presentation, but feel free to suggest another title. The title should be a succinct description of the topic, in an informal but professional style. The title should begin with an “ing” verb and is limited to 60 characters (e.g., Winning a Motion to Change Domicile).

Length

You should aim for around 10 tips; the minimum number is 8 and the maximum is 12.

Style

  • Remember that a Top Tips presentation is designed to be read and digested quickly.
  • Do not cover points that require an in-depth understanding of complex law.
  • Simple, concise, and straightforward language is best.
  • Contractions are acceptable.
  • Avoid legalese and passive voice.
  • Write as if you’re talking to a lawyer new to the field.
  • Include examples and illustrations to make your point come alive.
  • Give answers rather than ask questions.
  • Do not apologize for what you’re not covering in your Top Tips.

Format

  • Use Microsoft Word for your draft if at all possible.
  • Write a brief introductory paragraph about the Top Tips (limited to 255 characters).
  • Title each individual tip with a brief verb phrase (e.g., Contact your clients directly).
  • Keep the text for each tip under 875 characters including spaces (or 150 words).
  • Consider including a short list of references at the end for those who want to learn more about the topic. (ICLE will provide references to ICLE resources.)

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