Write for Lawyer 2B

Thanks for showing an interest in writing for us: below you will find a few guidelines on how to go about it.

We welcome contributions from students, academics, trainees, qualified lawyers and graduate recruiters. These guidelines give some general rules and advice, but get in touch if you have ideas for other features that aren’t covered below. Contact details can be found at the bottom of the page.

What sort of articles do you accept?

Lawyer 2B won’t tell you what to write. If you pitch an idea to us we’re happy to give input on whether it will be suitable or not, but we don’t commission students to write about specific topics. It’s up to you to come up with ideas.

But to give you some guidance, we typically publish the following types of article:

Commercial awareness

There are articles explaining the commercial and/or legal issues behind a topical news story.

Careers advice

Articles covering things like applications, interviews, work experience, etc

Opinion

Articles expressing a strong point of view on a legal issue or news story, aiming to persuade.

Blogs

Articles covering your personal experience. Generally speaking, these should have a unique or interesting angle – ‘what I did on my vac scheme’ won’t cut it.

Whether it’s a blog, opinion piece, commercial awareness article or careers advice column, your article should tell readers something they don’t know already.

That might be informing them about a niche project, educating them on a point of law, inspiring them with the tale of someone who has beaten the odds, or making them think with an argument they might not have considered before.

What don’t you accept?

The most common reasons we turn submissions down…

  1. Topic is unoriginal. As you can imagine, Lawyer 2B has covered a lot in the 15 years we’ve been going. So, for example, if you want to write about vacation schemes, you’re going to need to find something fresh to say.
  2. Topic is not really relevant to our readership or only tangentially related to the legal profession. Ultimately Lawyer 2B is all about getting students a job. We do a bit of gossipy and trivial stuff but, for example, a think-piece on the legality of the Sanhedrin trial is a bit too far off the beaten track for us.
  3. Article does not provide any genuine insight.
  4. Article is overly self-promotional. We’re not averse to you briefly mentioning your new initiative/charity event/whatever, if it’s relevant – but our job is to inform our readers, not to be your marketing arm.
  5. Article has lots of factual inaccuracies.
  6. Spelling and grammar is so bad that it’s impossible to edit it into something worth reading.

How long should articles be?

Between 500 and 800 words, please.

What else should I include?

A title

Try to keep it to ten words or less, incorporating active words. Remember, this is the internet and we want to encourage people to click on the article, so titles need to be reasonably descriptive.

  • GOOD: Could the French ‘right to disconnect’ law work in the UK?
  • NOT GOOD: The French disconnection

Summary line

A short summary telling people what the article is about.

  • Eg. French companies with more than 50 people are now required by law to engage negotiations on the right for their employees to disconnect from digital tools in order to curb the ‘always-on’ culture. But what does the right to disconnect mean in reality and could similar legislation be introduced in the UK?

Biography line

Who you are, and what you’re currently doing, plus any other details that demonstrates why you are qualified to talk about this topic.

  • Eg. Jane Smith is a second-year law student at the University of Sussex. He won the all-university mooting championship in 2016.

Guidance on style and tone

– We are not an academic journal so don’t write your article like it’s an essay (“This article will set out to prove...”). Steer clear of jargon as much as possible. No footnotes please: you can link to online sources.

– Equally, we’re not a personal blog, so don’t get TOO chatty and informal. To get an idea of the right tone to use, read some of the other articles on this site and try to use that voice as much as possible.

– Ask yourself: “Would the tone of this article look horribly out of place in a newspaper like the Guardian or a magazine like the Economist?” If the answer is yes, it will probably look out of place on our site too. (Not that we’re comparing ourselves to the Guardian, but you know what we mean.)

– Don’t be afraid to use subheadings or to break down your article into smaller chunks.

– Keep paragraphs short – it makes the article easier to read online.

– Don’t use capital letters for job titles or department names

  • CORRECT: ‘She was a partner in the banking and finance department and he was the head of business development at the firm’
  • INCORRECT: ‘She was a Partner in the Banking and Finance department and he was the Head of Business Development at the Firm.’

– Use one space after full stops

– Use while and among not whilst and amongst

Any other advice?

Keep your language simple. Avoid the urge to use long words when short ones will do, or use overly flowery expressions. The primary job of a journalist is to explain things clearly, not to produce beautiful prose. It’s a skill – many lawyers don’t have it. Keep sentences short if possible. If a sentence has to be long then try and construct it in a sensible way. Imagine you’re writing a speech – if you read your article out loud and it doesn’t sound like something a human being might actually say, it could probably do with some revising.

If you haven’t discovered them already, read George Orwell’s rules for writing – invaluable advice.

Remember your audience, and the purpose of the article. In our case your audience is a Lawyer 2B reader, probably a student like you, although not quite as intelligent and attractive as you, obviously. Why are they reading? To gain a little bit of insight about the topic – something they might be able to use to sound informed in a training contract interview. If your piece doesn’t tell them anything new, what’s the point? So avoid 500 words of stating the blindingly obvious or waffling on about nothing in particular. 

Make sure you do your research. We’ll look over your article for obvious errors and have a pretty keen sense of when something doesn’t sound quite right, but you should run a full fact check on your article before submitting it. 

Don’t be boring. Short, snappy, interesting and insightful, that’s our motto. Actually it’s not, but it could be.

Who should I contact?

If you’d like to write for us, email richard.simmons@thelawyer.com with the subject line Article pitch.