Redlines

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The importance of signposting — and following through

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Fall/Winter 2021-22 | Volume 105 Number 3

Signposting is easy to illustrate. Not this: “The defendant claims . . . . The defendant also claims . . . . Finally, the defendant claims . . . .” […]

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Another plea to hold the acronyms

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Summer 2021 | Volume 105 Number 2

First, a technical distinction: an acronym is pronounced as a word (“scuba” = self-contained underwater breathing apparatus); an initialism is pronounced letter by letter (“IBM”). Informally, “acronym” is often used for […]

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Revising an Order

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Winter 2016 | Volume 100 Number 4

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At Least Do The Easy Stuff

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Spring 2021 | Volume 105 Number 1

In these two examples, I have done very little rewriting. I simply used plain words and cut unnecessary words (including the egregiously unnecessary parentheticals). And in the second one, I […]

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Hold the Parentheticals, Please

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Spring 2017 | Volume 101 Number 1

Our writing guru Joseph Kimble offers tips for enlisting the dash and for avoiding legalese and silly, distracting parentheticals. Original According to the Plaintiff, Defendants Exxon Mobil Corporation (“Exxon”), Badger […]

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A better first paragraph, please

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Summer 2017 | Volume 101 Number 2

Start strong. Our writing guru, Joseph Kimble, breaks down an opinion’s first paragraph to show a better way. Original Pending before the Court is a letter motion by plaintiff Amy […]

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On Names, Pronouns, and Paragraphing

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Fall/Winter 2020–21 | Volume 104 Number 3

Lawsuits involve people. And rather than turn them into a disembodied “Plaintiff” and “Defendant,” opinions might better use their names. The opinions will be more direct and more human. (Of […]

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The Plague of String Citations

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Spring 2020 | Volume 104 Number 1

Check out the original paragraph from this opinion, which dealt with a motion to quash two subpoenas on grounds of attorney-client privilege. In the entire 262-word paragraph, covering 20 lines, […]

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Go Light on Heavy Connectors

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Summer 2019 | Volume 103 Number 2

One of the easiest ways to significantly improve all forms of legal writing is to replace heavy logical connectors with lighter ones (or none at all, where appropriate). Unfortunately, the […]

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Redlines

Let’s ditch unnecessary procedural detail

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Spring 2018 | Volume 102 Number 1

This Redlines column looks different from the previous ones. For one thing, it doesn’t have any redlines — but rather a simple before and after. Our writing guru, Joseph Kimble, […]

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