Andy Mergendahl

Andy Mergendahl is a privacy officer at a large commercial bank. He's also been a solo practitioner and a judicial law clerk. He considers himself a foot soldier in the War on Legalese (also known as the War Without End). Andy enjoys collecting names for bands that do not (yet) exist, being a runner (but not the act of running so much), and the bourbon Old Fashioned at Eat Street Social in Minneapolis. Follow him on Twitter @andymergendahl

legal writing wars-search for precision

Legal Writing Wars: Seeking Precision

In the quest to make their writing precisely clear, lawyers use a number of methods. Few of them make their writing easy to read. And sometimes lawyers intentionally write to make things unclear.

law schools are changing 2

Law Schools Are Changing, But How and Why? (Part 2)

Until the federal government stops the free flow of student loan money, law schools will not make significant changes.

origins of legal writing wars 5

Origins of the Legal Writing Wars: Constructing Sentences

Most lawyers have enough ability to write readable prose, but their style choices doom them to failure. Many of those choices have historical roots.

law schools change

Law Schools Are Changing, But How and Why?

Recent news about law schools suggest there's real change going on. There really isn't. Why not? As always, follow the money.

origins of legal writing wars part 3

Origins of the Legal Writing Wars, Part Three

Here's the true story of why lawyers became obsessed with the written word.

negotiation myths vs reality

Negotiation Myths vs. Reality

Old-school maxims about how to negotiate are often incorrect. Social science is showing us how to get better results.

origins legal writing wars part two

Origins of the Legal Writing Wars, Part Two

This week, we continue our search for the roots of why legal writing is such a godawful mess. Unsurprisingly, it's partly the fault of the French.

relationships matter more

Relationships Often Matter More Than Results

You may be a great lawyer. But that has a limited amount of impact on your future. How people feel about you matters just as much, or more.

origins of legal writing wars

Origins of the Legal Writing Wars, Part One

Why is legal writing so awful? The answer, like most answers, is to be found in history.

our favorite books about lawyers

Our Favorite Books About Lawyering (and Other Stuff)

Looking for some summer reading? Check out some of our writers' favorite books---and they are not all about lawyers!

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Thoughts On Cube Farming

Cube farms are an unfortunate fact of work life. Here

war on drugs is collapsing

The War on Drugs is Collapsing

After almost a hundred years and upwards of a trillion dollars spent, the War on Drugs is collapsing under the weight of its complete failure.

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Legal Writing in Plain English as Culture War

Legal writing in plain English seems sensible, unless you're a lawyer that clings to tradition, and to your elite status as a lawyer.

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The “Gold Standard” of Evidence is Unreliable

Eyewitness testimony has traditionally been the evidence that juries give the most weight. Problem: it's notoriously unreliable.

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A Jury of Whose Peers?

Why don't juries reflect the whole community? And can anything be done about it?