Better Legal Writing . . . From The Adobe Legal Department

Whereas, the legal profession needs someone to help us write more clearly, and less lawyerly,

Whereas, we want to be understood when we communicate with a client or the court,

Whereas, we do not want others to search a legal dictionary for definitions,

In acknowledgement hereof, the Adobe Legal Department has made its Legal Style Guide available free of charge.

We here at Abnormal Use have reviewed the Adobe guide and highlight several of our very favorite suggestions.

Format your document so it is easy to read.

Use informative headings that clearly signpost the main messages.

Break text into small units—use short sections, or subdivide longer ones.

Use short sentences.

About 20 words per sentence.

Include only one idea.

Break a long sentence down into manageable parts by using further numbering, bullets, tables, or lists.

Avoid legalese or archaic English, and use everyday words.

Among; not amongst.

That/these; not aforementioned.

Above or below; not hereinabove or herein.

Omit surplus words, and use shorter words or phrases.

Then; not “at that point in time.”

Since/because; not “inasmuch as.”

Because; not “in light of the fact that.”

Do not turn verbs into nouns.

Conclude; not “arrive at the conclusion.”

Apply; not “make an application.”

Consider; not “take into consideration.”

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” (Leonardo da Vinci)

(Hat Tip: Bob Ambrogi).

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