Bolch Judicial Institute
Duke Law School
In a very short browse on Westlaw, I found some sentences that, in my view, would be improved by contractions: […]
Since I didn’t wipe them out the first time (Summer 2018), I am reloading. Multiword prepositions—also called compound or complex or phrasal prepositions—are among the most noxious and pervasive small-scale faults in legal writing. […]
This isn’t the first time I’ve gone after unnecessary dates and procedural detail. (See the Autumn 2017 and Summer 2018 columns.) And it probably won’t be the last.
We all know that legal writing could benefit from more periods. A strong contender for the second most neglected punctuation mark in legal writing is the em-dash, the long dash.
Signposting is easy to illustrate. Not this: “The defendant claims . . . . The defendant also claims . . . . Finally, the defendant claims . . . .” […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]