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July 7, 2012
Is Plain English Boring?
When we teach our students to write in plain English, are we training them to write dull, boring prose. In the June issue of the Michigan Bar Journal, Professor Mark Cooney asks
And is plain language really an ugly
duckling? Can a lawyer, judge, or scholar
write with flourish and flair using “plain
It isn’t plain
at all, if by that you mean dull and drab. It’s
refreshing, persuasive, interesting, and sometimes
colorful. It has strength and, yes, beauty
In the article, he offers a number of examples of legal prose that is vibrant and in plain English.
July 7, 2012 | Permalink
When I tried to get our corporate lawyers to write plain language, they argued that existing legal terms, sentence structures, and expressions were part of case law and set in stone. Nothing could budge them. They believed that their success in front of a judge depended entirely upon their ability to write in ways that mimicked the convoluted language they found in precedent. I gave up.
Posted by: Lee Woods | Jul 21, 2012 8:03:46 AM