Friday, August 9, 2013
Judge Gregory Orme of Utah recently published a review of a new book, The Seven Deadly Sins of Legal Writing, by Theodore Blumberg. The sins are “passivity, abstraction, adverbiage, verbosity, redundancy, footnotes, and negativity.” The “sin” of abstraction drew my attention because it’s a problem I notice increasingly in student writing. As an example of abstraction, Orme quotes Blumberg's reference to a statute that mentions “certain actions against the State.” Blumberg sensibly suggests naming the particular actions.
While Judge Orme sees the phrase “deadly sins” as hyperbole, he agrees with most of Blumberg’s list and likes the 34-page book, especially for its price of $7.95. For Orme's review, see page 41 of the May/June 2013 Utah Bar Journal.