Albert Einstein, Legal Writing, Legalese, Paul Luvera, Plain Language, Plaintiff Trial Lawyer Tips Blog
This Should Be Every Trial Lawyer’s Mantra, by Paul Luvera, Plaintiff Trial Lawyer Tips Blog
One of my favorite quotations! Mr. Luvera hit the nail on the head, not only for trial presentations, but for any type of writing regardless of your profession. Some people think that their writing should be complex, with lots of Latin, jargon, and legalese. Technical writers often use complicated terms and words understood (barely) by people who work in their industry, but no one else.
Most readers skim or skip the long, single-space block quotations often found in legal briefs. Wouldn’t you? Imagine having to slog through poorly written briefs day after day? Or imagine that you are a juror who must decipher poorly written jury instructions. If what you say is that important, why risk losing the reader even for a moment?
Just like Murphy’s Law, in writing, whatever can be misunderstood, will be. What is the point of writing anything if you are not easily understood? No, you are not “dumbing down” your writing or treating the reader like a child. You are communicating and facilitating your goal — to be understood. -CCE
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