Saturday, March 15, 2014
The March issue of the Michigan Bar Journal has reprinted an early column by Joe Kimble and Joseph Prokop, entitled, “Three Strikes for Legalese.” The column reports on a study in which lawyers and judges were given two versions of six paragraphs—one in traditional legalese and one in plain English. Not surprisingly, the lawyers and judges preferred the plain English versions. The legalese versions contained some of our old friends:
Obsolete formalisms (Now comes . . .); archaic
words (hereby, hereof ); longer and less
common words (subsequent, submit) instead
of simple, everyday words (later,
send); wordy phrases (above named, prior
to); doublets (by and through, foreseen or
anticipated); abstract nouns (execution,
payment, notification) created from strong
verbs; passive voice (payment will not be
made); long sentences; intrusive phrases;
and negative form.
You can read more here.