Suppose you work as a paralegal, and your supervising attorney gives you the following feedback on your legal writing: “Please review your use of legalese”; “Please review the clarity of the holding”; and “Please Shepardize the case cited”. Explain the meaning of each of the phrases that your supervising attorney used to describe your legal writing. Identify the method(s) that you would use to accomplish each task. Justify your response.

Describe the following two (2) steps in the writing process: editing and proofreading. Detail the significance of each step for legal writing. Provide a rationale for your response


Holding is the core of a judge’s decision in a case (Bast & Hawkins, 2013). When a supervising attorney says “Please review the clarity of holding,” he or she asks the legal researcher to review the core decision of the judge to a particular case. That part of the judge’s written opinion that applies the law to the facts of the case and about which can be said “the case means no more and no less than this” (Bast & Hawkins, 2013). When later cases rely on a case as precedent, it is only the holding that should be used to establish the precedent.

To Shepardize is to validate the primary authorities of a particular case (Bouchoux, 2014). If a supervising attorney says to a paralegal, “Please Shepardize the case cited,” it asks the legal researcher to validate the legal authorities of said case. Paralegals update their legal authorities either through the print versions of Shepard’s or its electronic version. Electronic updating gives more up-to-date validation of legal authorities; it is also easily accomplished (Bouchoux, 2014). There is no need to learn quirky abbreviations. Reversal of a case appears in simple English. Electronic updating eliminates the worry that one does not have all of the print volumes in a set of Shepard’s. References are available online far more quickly than the print versions of Shepard’s are published (Bouchoux, 2014).