Are in-house lawyers abysmal writers?

A letter to the editor of the ABA Journal, Aug. 2011 at 7, lambastes the deplorable writing of in-house lawyers. The writer teaches technical writing to corporate employees. He claims that “universally, the people I teach say that they understand all the points I make and try to write this way. Then comes the inevitable, scathing “but.”

“[B]ut that their documents become full of meaningless jargon, poor construction and passive voice after they go through their legal departments.”

For sure ceteris paribus which is a painey way that is complained of for the scions of the immortal bar de jure heretofore a force majeure of non aproprose.

Words make the in-house lawyer and if lawyers tangle and mangle them in the service of their clients, they disserve their clients. It’s simple: write well.

I have recently written several posts on writing and prose style (See my post of Sept. 29, 2009 #1: analysis of writing style of this blog; Feb. 2, 2010: readability of documents expressed by school grade level; Sept. 28, 2010: writing, thinking, and success as an in-house lawyer; Oct. 12, 2010: metaphors: beyond writing to a fundamental of thinking; Nov. 17, 2010: format conventions and writing; Nov. 28, 2010: handwriting and the end of cursive; Dec. 14, 2010: writing style of this blogger; and Feb. 2, 2011: many web sites for those who want to improve their writing.).

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