Redlines

Person marking paper with red pen

Headings, please. The more, the better

by

Vol. 104 No. 2 | Coping with COVID

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 […]

Read More »

Person marking paper with red pen

The Plague of String Citations

by

Vol. 104 No. 1 | A Clearer View

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, […]

Read More »

Person marking paper with red pen

Zap Multiword Prepositions, Please

by

Vol. 102 No. 2 | Rights That Made The World Right

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 […]

Read More »

Go Light on Heavy Connectors

by

Vol. 103 No. 2 | Pay NCAA athletes?

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 […]

Read More »

Redlines

Let’s ditch unnecessary procedural detail

by

Vol. 102 No. 1 | Forensic Fail

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, […]

Read More »

Person marking paper with red pen

Repairing Long Sentences (PDF)

by

Vol. 102 No. 3 | Crowdsourcing and Data Analytics

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 […]

Read More »

A little less stiff, and no tangents, please.

by

Vol. 101 No. 4 | Equal opportunity?

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, […]

Read More »

Person marking paper with red pen

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

by

Vol. 101 No. 3 | Bold and Persistent Reform

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 […]

Read More »