Saturday, May 10, 2008

bad writing made worse by "electronic gizmo" distractions

Texting An upcoming issue of the National Law Journal (May 12, 2008) reports the unsurprising news that lawyers still do not write well. Jennifer Murphy Romig (Emory), Bryan Garner, Craig Jeffrey, and Douglas Winter were interviewed for the article, and all three point to difficulties today's lawyers have in dealing with electronic distractions--particularly the interruptions occasioned by text messages and incoming e-mail--as they write. Garner is concerned about a loss of concentration. Romig says that while many things about current technology are helpful to writers, the interruptions prevent writers from achieving "flow." Practicing attorney Jeffrey, however, says he's unable to exercise the necessary "restraint" from quickly responding to clients and co-workers' messages. Law firm writing "coach" Winter says his job is to teach junior lawyers "how not to write," adding that "[m]ost of us would be far better writers if we'd never gone to law school."


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