Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Thoughts on Legal Writing (#WhyIWrite)

To celebrate National Day on Writing, we took a look at the legal writing section of The Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations. Here's a sampling:
In the third year of law school, they ought to teach English as a Second Language.
Stephen Wermiel, quoted in Tom Goldstein and Jethro K. Lieberman, The Lawyer’s Guide to Writing Well 80 (1989). Read a later edition of the book as an e-book or in print.
Legal writing is one of those rare creatures, like the rat and the cockroach, that would attract little sympathy even as an endangered species. 
Richard Hyland, A Defense of Legal Writing, 134 U. Pa. L. Rev. 599, 600 (1986).
There are only two cures for the long sentence: (1) Say less; (2) Put a period in the middle. Neither expedient has taken hold in the law.  

David Mellinkoff, The Language of the Law 366 (1963).
Everytime a lawyer writes something, he is not writing for posterity, he is writing so that endless others of his craft can make a living out of trying to figure out what he said, course perhaps he hadent really said anything, that’s what makes it hard to explain.” 
Will Rogers, The Lawyers Talking, 28 July 1935, in Will Rogers’ Weekly Articles 6:243, 244 (Steven K. Gragert ed. 1982).

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