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October 15, 2013

Lawyers Writing Sanely and Well: When?

Pompous_Bastard_by_tannermorrow.jpg
"Pompous Bastard" by Tannermorrow

Ironically, few lawyers write well.

Many of us aren't even aware of that. Good clients and the general public are justified in beginning to conclude that either we won't or can't write sanely and well. At WAC/P?, over the years, we've discussed that problem a lot--but maybe not enough--at our section called Writing Well.

We've never demanded perfection. We have suggested the importance of, well, a modicum of Self-Respect. Of Simplicity. And of Non-Silliness.

You do need to work at it. Good writing, like good lawyering, is not easy.

When most of us write, we meander, repeat, confuse, use too many words, are awash in jargon, are lazy, and use the wrong words; in the end, we sound like self-important mental patients rocking back and forth and talking to ourselves. Useful and even brilliant legal thinking and insights get lost.

Read lawyer letters to counsel or clients if you don't believe me. At best, most of them are entertaining (and full-of-it). Or, for fun, just read our pleadings:

COMES NOW, the Plaintiff, GiantMart Inc., by and through its attorneys, Adams, Bones & Carson, LLC, brings this cause of action against Upstart Ltd, Scumbag Defendant, for violations of the Lanham Act, and for other causes of action, which are set forth in their entirety below, and files with this Honorable Court the herein Complaint, the following of which is a statement of its averments and allegations, oye oye [above with names changed to protect the lame, and one embellishment]:

rather than

Plaintiff GiantMart Inc. states:

Posted by JD Hull at October 15, 2013 12:09 AM

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