What is POFP?

Why do lawyers refer to long documents as briefs and
18-year olds as infants? Why do they use so much Latin when so few of their
clients are Ancient Romans? Is it a conspiracy?

Party of the First Part has the answers! Check out the Website for the
Legalese Hall of Shame; a glossary of legal words linked to Adam Freedman's
columns; tips on writing legal documents in plain English; and more!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Great Chapter on Legal Writing

Ray Ward of the (new) legal writer blog, has posted a chapter that he wrote for the book A Defense Lawyer’s Guide to Appellate Practice. The chapter is called Style and it has great suggestions for improving one's writing. Ray takes aim at some of the classic monsters of legalese (doublets and triplets), but also points out the litigator's tendency toward hyperbole (using terms like "indisputably" when the other side is disputing it).

Thanks to the Manage Your Writing site for pointing this out.


Greg May said...

That's the sole crtique of my moot court brief that I remember almost 20 years later. I haven't used "indisputably" since, and I never use "clearly," either.

Litassistant said...

Perhaps someone should send this to O'Melveny & Myers? Have you heard about their 239 page "brief?"

What makes me nuts is the overuse of "that." 99% of the time, "that" can be removed from a sentence and it will improve it.

Adam Freedman said...

I hadn't seen the bit about the O'Melveny brief - that's incredible.

I agree about the use of "that," but I think the problem goes deeper. At least in litigation, it is the failure of lawyers to show any discrimination about the arguments they make. Lowering the Bar's point about the Dormant Commerce Clause is excellent - you shouldn't make an argument unless you think it is a winner.

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