Tag Archives: ABA Journal

Legal Writing Potpourri #2

1. R+W Legal Consultants links to an academic paper from Judith Fischer entitled “Add Punch to Your Legal Writing“. Only three pages long, it works as a nice cheat sheet  for cleaning up your legal writing.

2. Legal Writing Prof blog  points to the latest in the ABA Journal from legal writing guru Bryan Garner about words that we lawyers should excise from our vocabularies. While I’m tempted to keep an occasional “whereas”, in fact, Garner is certainly right. I work to expunge “shall” in any legal document. I drafted a lot of ordinances and contracts without it, and the monstrosity “and/or” is just that: a monstrosity. (Remember: “Or includes and“. Yes, well worth a couple of minutes of reading time.

3. Legal Writing Prof blog also does a brief review of a new book by William Domnarski that addresses (in part) legal writing. Not having read the original pieces discussed, I hesitate to comment too much. However, I agree with Legal Writing Prof that good writing is good writing, and what lawyers do is add legal terminology (different that mere jargon or “word gravel”) to their prose. Also, Bryan Garner (see above) is a very useful resource. Finally, writing and thinking go hand in hand.

Agile Lawyers Needed: Change Is Here

How we lawyers operate is changing–fast. I found this post from The ABA Journal by Jordan Furlong titled “The Agile Lawyer Will Rise as Permanent, Full-Time Employment Vanishes”  interesting because it reflects my path in some ways. I practiced very traditionally for a long time; first as a law clerk, then as an associate in a firm in Champaign, Illinois (while my wife was in graduate school), and then for 29 years in Iowa City at the same office (moving from associate to partner). Now, over the last 17 months, I’ve done something very different (working with an Indian LPO) and now I’ve embarked on freelance lawyering, which is in its infant stages (i.e,. I’m still looking for work if you need help). This article tells me that I’m not alone and that I may have (inadvertently) caught a wave to ride, for better or worse.