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Face It — Bad Legal Writing Wastes Money, by Matthew Salzwedel, The Lawyerist Blog


A recent article on FindLaw.com called Five Ways Attorneys Waste Money claimed that attorneys can cut clients’ costs by avoiding needless motions, staffing cases leanly, focusing on the important issues, avoiding petty spats with the opposition, and being smart about when to settle.

But the article ignored the most important way attorneys can save money for their firms and clients: by learning how to write in plain English.

Most attorneys don’t believe that writing style matters. They might concede that writing in plain English can be aesthetically pleasing to the reader; but they also say that it’s not worth the time to learn how to do it because there’s no evidence that writing in plain English saves time or money.

But these attorneys ignore what legal-writing experts have taught — and what the empirical evidence has shown — for more than 50 years: that plain English saves time and money by increasing the ability of readers to understand and retain what they have read. . . .