Legal Fiction: How Lawyers Write Great Stories

5 min read

There is a great demand for legal fiction due to the success of authors such as John Grisham, James Patterson, Scott Turow, David Baldacci, and Lisa Scottoline.

Lawyers and legal professionals are better positioned than any other group to capitalize on the high demand for legal fiction.

Like this writer who is also an attorney, you can use your legal experience to pursue a career in legal writing.

Lawyers are renowned for their love and use of beautiful language in their daily legal work. 

Law and literature are similar in their use of artistic and intellectual language to educate, enlighten, and inform society.

In many jurisdictions, literature is one of the core subjects required for law school admission.

Literature refers to a set of works that are considered to have intellectual and artistic value.

The aims of literary works vary depending on the author’s intentions. Literature seeks, primarily, to educate, enlighten, and express intellectual thoughts about a topic or issue.

Law refers to a system of rules and guidelines recognized to regulate the behavior of all members of society.

The combination of law and literature can produce works of art that are educational, entertaining and exciting. Legal novels can be legal suspense, mystery, or thriller.

For those who want to try legal fiction, here are some useful tips:

Feel it.

Henry David Thoreau was right when he wrote:

“How foolish it would be to stand to live rather than sit to write.”

Lawyers have a huge advantage over others when it comes to writing legal fiction. Due to our rich experience in the legal field.

A lawyer who wants to write legal novels must, among other things, have sufficient experience in most legal practice courses.

Know the legal process.

Most legal stories contain scenes of legal proceedings. If you are not familiar with the practices and procedures of the justice system, readers will be.

Lawyers who actively practice law have no difficulty in correcting facts, but lawyers who do not practice law will definitely experience difficulties.

So your best option is to do your own research. Sometimes reading alone is not enough to paint the picture you want to see. There are times when the legal process needs to be looked at directly to get the information you need.

Court officials, such as clerks, court clerks, and bailiffs, are excellent sources of information regarding legal practices and procedures.

When writing legal fiction, non-lawyers should avoid too much detail to avoid errors of fact.

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The first step in writing a legal story, book, or actually creating anything is imagination.


Imagination is the ability of the senses to influence the mind and allow memories to form images.

One of the unique and essential characteristics of mental beings is the ability to create mental images.

As a writer, you can’t accomplish much if you don’t have a clear mental picture and picture of how to move forward and what you want to achieve.

Develop your imagination.

Everything humans create, including books, begins with imagination. That is, it was first created in the human mind.

The ability to create or generate mental images is one of the unique and essential characteristics of mental beings.

When writing fiction books, authors use constructive imagination, which involves the additional process of reconstructing and readjusting images of past experiences. 

Great writers have used constructive imagination to create characters that seem more real than any we have ever experienced.

In the practice of law, lawyers meet interesting people every day, from fellow attorneys to judges and clients.

The lawyer can use his imagination to recreate these characters, taking any position or role in the story.

Constructive imagination goes through two stages.

  • Passive construction.
  • This is a constructive use of imagination, similar to daydreaming or pure imagination.

  • Active construction.
  • It’s about using your imagination constructively through specific, purposeful and creative efforts.

    Active constructive imagination combines raw materials obtained through passive imagination to achieve certain goals.

    After collecting raw materials, you need to select, dispose, organize and combine them according to the goals you want to achieve.

    Only when you use constructive imagination to unleash your true creativity can you create something unique.

    Plan your novel.

    Now that you have a clear idea of ​​the novel you want to write, it’s time to make it happen.

    Bringing a novel to life requires planning. Creating a good business plan is usually the starting point for any project or business. The same goes for writing legal fiction.

    Planning a novel involves several steps:

  • research.
  • Writing legal fiction doesn’t mean you have to confuse the facts or write unconvincingly.

    To give a measure of authenticity to a novel, a writer must research everything he is going to write.

    Proper research is the only way to bring realism to your work of fiction and keep readers turning the pages.

    Observing court proceedings can provide great insight into court rules and procedures.

  • Gather your materials.
  • Having the amount of materials you need to write a novel will determine the success or failure of your project.

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    If there is too little material, it will clog. Collecting lots of materials will take you on a whole adventure.

    One way to gather material for your novel is to use your cognitive skills.

    Without awareness and observation, you cannot create an image that will become a model or pattern for future projects.

    Constructive imagination cannot create something out of nothing. To write legal fiction effectively, you need to arm yourself with good books and resources on the topic.

    Other places to get novel material include:

  • book
  • film
  • court
  • Status law.
  • Police report.
  • Court staff.
  • News broadcast.
  • decomposition.

    It is the process of separating or dismantling something that previously existed into a unified form.

    Each memory image is composed or consists of several parts or elements that are integrated into one image.

    Constructive imagination begins by isolating and isolating related elements or parts of the reproduced image.

    Deconstruction involves tearing apart an old image and reconstructing its parts, along with other fragmented parts of the image, into a new form.

    Constructive imagination is impossible without prior decomposition. Imagine the following scenario:

  • You want to build a new car.
  • It was decided that the new car would be made using the materials of the old car.
  • The decision was made to leave the old car until the new car was built.
  • As you can see, it is impossible to achieve certain goals with the above plan. The justice system is full of interesting and engrossing characters – difficult judges, dodgy lawyers, bumbling clerks, evil bailiffs, court clerks, probation officers – who can be turned into compelling characters in your novel.


    This involves collecting separate items into new groups and arrangements.

    Reconstruction can be achieved by:

  • Simply rearrange certain image elements, or
  • Combine some of these elements with specific elements from other separate images.
  • There are many forms of fictional reconstruction that writers use in their works. The two most common forms are idealization and invention.


    This is the process of constructing an imaginary picture or mental picture in which the actual picture of an experience is given in a more complete or ideal form.

    Idealization allows writers to create idealized characters, events, and characteristics that are only partially expressed in real life.


    Writers are inventors and have the power of creativity. Writers can construct imaginary images or mental images of familiar objects to suit familiar uses and purposes.

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    Many discoveries have revolutionized the way we do things that were originally considered science fiction.

    Legal fiction allows us to construct a better picture of courts, legal processes, legal practitioners, and legal processes than we have today.

    Writing legal fiction is also an opportunity to address complex legal issues and ethical dilemmas in society.

    Therefore, the legal imagination can be an important tool for social engineering and change, especially in the legal profession.

    There are many judges, lawyers, and other legal professionals who are motivated to enter the legal profession after reading or watching legal novels.

    Diversify: Don’t limit your writing to the legal profession.

    Writing legal fiction doesn’t mean everything has to start and end in a lawyer’s office or courtroom.

    As in real life, the plot or setting must relate to the legal system, but characters in legal fiction do not have to be legal experts.

    To make your novel more interesting, include non-standard characters that reflect real life situations and situations.

    Write persuasively. 

    The technical and procedural nature of legal practice means that every presentation must capture the facts to convince the reader.

    The opportunity and experience of working in the legal field allows me to write persuasively about legal issues.

    No part of persuasive writing should be limited to legal issues. This should be extended to the new settings.

    Therefore, the places and settings in a novel must be familiar in order to sound realistic and believable.

    Incorrect presentation of facts, laws, or rules of procedure can easily alienate readers. 

    Writing a compelling legal novel requires careful attention to each character, process, law, and setting.

    ruining my condition

    Becoming a lawyer not only gives you the advantage of knowing how the justice system works, but also gives you the opportunity to see things from a different perspective.

    The ability to see various sides of a case or matter can help a lawyer write a persuasive legal narrative. 

    Lawyers can leverage their legal experience by writing legal novels full of twists and turns that will keep readers guessing.

    Legal expertise allows writers to infuse their stories with credible and honest accounts of legal proceedings.

    The most successful legal fiction writers, such as Gresham, Patterson, Turo, Baldacci, and Scottoline, have extensive experience in the practice of law.

    Lawyers have a greater opportunity in this genre if legal fiction can be explored by non-lawyers who have little or no experience with legal procedures and practices.

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