Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shortening Your Legal Documents

I recently read through a book with advice on how to shorten legal documents. Although some suggestions are worthwhile, others give me pause. For example:  “Punctuate and hyphenate conservatively” (i.e. eliminate spaces in abbreviations, hyphens in compound adjectives, and spaces on either sides of dashes)“Revise an itemized list into an unitemized list.” “Eliminate forecast statements in introductions.” 

Quite often these changes reduce the word and character counts only minimally. I think the better way is to take a deep breath, cut out whole paragraphs. If the paragraphs include vital information, rewrite them more concisely. This method is more painful and sometimes more time consuming. However, it will produce a better product.


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