Great lawyers must write well. But what does that mean? I could give you a list of what you should or shouldn’t do as a legal writer. I think that you might find such an article useful regardless of your skill level because the best writers always strive to improve and the worst writers, well, they need a lot of guidance.
The appellate judge communicates through writing. Indeed, every official act is a written one. To act effectively, the judge must write well. Clarity, persuasiveness, organization, and plain old storytelling must find their way into the judge’s opinions.
Lawyers have the same responsibility. We are professional writers. My legal career has included both an appellate practice and a writing-heavy litigation. That is, in the big cases, I typically find myself in the writing roles, which is not an accident. So I have spent a lot of time pondering the theoretics of legal writing (or at least what makes it good or bad).
Writing has a technical component that matters. You can improve your writing by learning what to do and what to avoid. That takes conscious practice. Attend the seminars; read the articles about writing; then think about what you learned when you write.