Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Golden Opportunity to Analyze Clichés in Law Review Articles

Much ink has been spilled on effective legal writing. [FN 1] Many lawyers, law students, and law professors have been guilty at one point or another of relying on overused phrases and clichés in their writing. This begs the question: how many times have certain clichés appeared in law review articles? 
Black ink has been spilled all over
these law reviews.
We searched selected clichés and idioms in the HeinOnline Law Journal Library, which contains more than 2,200 law and law-related periodicals dating back to the first published issue for each title. What was the verdict? The proof is in the pudding. Certain expressions do indeed appear too frequently, so you may wish to avoid them like the plague in the future and instead choose more original and fresh language:

The Gallagher Law Library's collection contains numerous books about legal writing, including Clear and Effective Legal Writing (KF250.C52 2013), The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well (KF250.G65 2002), and The Elements of Legal Style (KF250.G37 2002). These books are all located in the Reference Area. 

For more resources on improving your legal writing, please see the Legal & General Writing Resources guide. For more information about writing and publishing law review articles, please see the Writing & Publishing in Law Reviews guide

At the end of the day, it is what it is. 

[FN 1] One unspoken rule is that authors must always find a way to cite themselves in all of their subsequent publications. This is probably the biggest cliché of them all. For a specific example of an article where the cliché in the opening sentence of this blog post appears, see Sarah Reis, Toward a "Digital Transfer Doctrine"? The First Sale Doctrine in the Digital Era, 109 Nw. U. L. Rev. 173, 176 (2015) ("[C]omparatively little ink has been spilled on e-books.") (emphasis added). 

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