Writing Tips from the Judge

Judge Kressel

We’ve never liked how most lawyers write. They overload their motions with a dozen words where two would do the trick. They use words incorrectly all the time (New York lawyers take note: “wherefore” means “why” — it is not a synonym for “therefore”). They employ all kinds of pointless stylistic tics, for no better reason than “that’s how it’s always been done.” We’re of the opinion that legal writing should be clear, period.

At least one judge is of a like mind. Minnesota federal bankruptcy judge Robert Kressel (shown above) is equally passionate about writing properly. It’s particularly annoying when lawyers submit proposed orders for him to sign, asking him to put his name to their stylistic messes.

So last week Judge Kressel issued some pointed style and grammar rules for proposed orders. You can check them out here. His tone is a little cheeky, perhaps, but his rules are golden.

We encourage all our readers to check them out, and pass them along.

(H/T: WSJ Law Blog)

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