Saturday, June 2, 2012
Courtesy of clear writing expert Bryan Garner and the Lawyerist blog:
The straightest path to good legal writing is to follow Bryan A. Garner’s advice.
And one of Garner’s goals is to promote legal writing in plain English, i.e., doing away with legalese. I suspect that Garner and I differ quite a bit politically, but I like to think we agree that the ideal of equal treatment under the law is best served when legal writing strives to be democratic (note the lower-case ‘d’ there) rather than exclusionary, and, legal terms of art aside, understandable by any literate person.
You can make a significant leap toward clear, concise legal writing by simply avoiding certain words. “Shall” is one.
But there are a number of others, including what Garner calls “Here-and-There Words.”
Avoid that musty smell
Here are some examples of Here-and-There Words:
Herein, heretofore, hereinafter, hereunder, thereof, thereto, therewith, thereunder, therefor, thereon, therefrom.
For instance, change "I hereby declare" into "I declare." For other examples, click here.