writing

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The Enigmatic Em Dash

Don't fear the em dash—it can add energy and much needed variety to your prose.

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Write a Compelling Opening Line for Blog Posts

The opening lines of your blog post are the only thing most readers will see before they decide to stay or go. If it is boring, very few will stick around to find out of you had anything worthwhile to say lower down.

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Lawyers Should Take Notes by Hand

Based on this study, at least, there is no question how lawyers should be taking notes: by hand.

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Argle-Bargle, Mumbo Jumbo, and Other Legal Gobbledygook

Just what is “argle-bargle,” and why would any appellate justice—much less one of Justice Scalia’s stature—use such a phrase in a momentous judicial opinion?

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My Three Favorite iOS Text Editors

I have tried a lot of text editors, and I like a lot of them, but Byword, Nebulous Notes, and Drafts have consistently been my favorites. Here is why.

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Faux Words of Precision—Part 1

It's a popular myth that "words of precision" make contracts more precise. This is the first of a two-part series devoted to debunking that myth.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Canterbury Tales

Fear Not Beginning Sentences with And or But

Old superstitions die hard. Yes, you can begin sentences with And and But

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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.

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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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Top 5 Tips to Draw Readers to Your Blog

I've been thinking a lot about what elements a blog post needs to draw readers' attention. Here are my top 5.

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Use 5-Cent Words for 10-Dollar Ideas

To convey big ideas in your legal writing, use short, familiar Anglo–Saxon words.

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Three Grammar Rules to Forget (Because They’re Wrong)

Remember those grammar rules you learned back in grade school? It's time to forget them.