Lawyers should write in English, not legalese

I thank Above the Law for this good-humored rebuke to legalese, from a lawyer who was responding to a “cease and desist” letter. Which was not only written in legalese, it was written badly in other ways.

Lawyers are not necessarily confident in their writing skills and will find comfort by falling into standard legal phrases that most people can’t understand and I wince at.

I get to wince because I was brought up, so to speak, by lawyers who had soaring confidence. One of them told me he and his partner had a longstanding policy of beginning every brief with a quote from Bob Dylan. While I disputed the particular reverence, I loved the bravura and they wrote so damn well.

 

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