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September 14, 2008

Redux: The War Against Legal-Speak.


Lord Chief Justice Sir John ("Pompous") Popham, circa 1603

Lawyer-Speak and Legalese. Of all "lawyer-centric" institutions, only "Professionalism" and "Work-Life Balance" are more embarrassing, abused and irrelevant, and more likely to undermine clients; at least those two prissy battle cries originally had a point. But Legalese never had a point. Recently, I noticed a clause from the unused draft of a 3-page confidentiality agreement used during talks for an acquisition a few years ago and forwarded by one party's lawyer:

"Effective on even date herewith, the parties hereto hereby agree to...".

Whoa. How about just one date at the top or bottom of the Agreement and then say "The parties agree..."? And if the whole thing is an Agreement, maybe you don't even need that? Either would save trees, ink and space, be more to the point--and would help diminish the image of the self-important "I'm-special" lawyer rocking back and forth in his chair and talking to himself like a mental patient. JDH 2/18/08

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzb├╝hel Desk) at September 14, 2008 11:05 PM


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