Redlines

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Headings, please. The more, the better

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Summer 2020 | Volume 104 Number 2

REDLINES If there’s a good reason why many judicial opinions don’t use informative headings, I haven’t heard it. For readers, headings are a boon to navigating through the opinion. And […]

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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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Zap Multiword Prepositions, Please

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Summer 2018 | Volume 102 Number 2

Probably the worst small-scale fault in legal writing is unnecessary prepositional phrases, a fault that this column will keep going after. A noxious variant is the multiword preposition — a […]

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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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Repairing Long Sentences (PDF)

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Fall/Winter 2018 | Volume 102 Number 3

The long, long sentence is legal writing’s oldest curse. You’ve probably seen even worse than the original sentence, but it’s still way too long (83 words). I offer three different […]

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A little less stiff, and no tangents, please.

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Winter 2017 | Volume 101 Number 4

Our writing guru, Joseph Kimble, goes after some common blemishes. In the original opinion, he notes, the second half of the first sentence seems pointless. So does the third sentence, […]

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Bullet points, yes. Unnecessary dates, no. (PDF)

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Autumn 2017 | Volume 101 Number 3

REDLINES Our writing guru, Joseph Kimble, simplifies and adds punch with some fairly quick fixes. He notes: The opinion deals with Defendant’s motion to quash Plaintiff’s notice of deposition. Before […]

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