Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Writing tip of the day: Avoid hyperbole
Great advice for law students and experienced attorneys alike courtesy of the blog An Associate's Mind (which, by the way, is an excellent read if you want to better understand the workaday world of a new associate):
There is nothing worse than reading a brief that is filled to the brim with over-the-top exposition and exploitive narrative detail. It does not bolster your argument – it dampens your argument.
By forcing a reader to navigate sentimental adjectives and impassioned turns of phrase, you are removing the focus of the brief from your argument to your prose. While such a tactic might hold some weight when making an oral argument before a jury, it instead comes across as amateurish and impertinent when delivered in a written brief to a court.
That’s not to say that you should not attempt to write boldly or with zeal, but rather that any creativity in your writing should be expressed by means of carefully constructing and crafting your arguments – funneling the reader to a compelling conclusion.
More steak, less sizzle.