Andy Mergendahl

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

Building Your Vocabulary Can Hurt Your Writing

Attempts to build a larger vocabulary can make bad writing worse, as poor writing fundamentals are only worsened by adding highfalutin' words.

Andy Mergendahl

The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law (Book Review)

The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law is amazing. It makes learning a challenging subject both easy and fun. And it just might help save America.

Andy Mergendahl

Is the Constitution the Real Problem?

Is our Constitution making it impossible for us to govern ourselves? Shoud we question its validity in the modern age?

Andy Mergendahl

Be Safe When Using Flat Adverbs

Flat adverbs are great because one can't master them by memorizing a rule. This drives lawyers crazy, which is great.

Instagram TOS: A Picture of Failure

Just another social media kerfuffle proves again that terms of service matter not a bit against user opinions on the value of the service.

Andy Mergendahl

Dumb, and Dumber, Online

Wherein the author attempts to justify his goal to play nicer on the internet without turning into a hypocritical nag.

Andy Mergendahl

Lawyering and Shoveling Snow

Lawyering often turns out to be a lot harder than originally expected. Sometimes it can feel a lot like manual labor (but without the exercise).

Andy Mergendahl

The Lawyering Brain and Raising Kids

Your lawyering brain makes it hard to be a good parent. (Remember, Atticus Finch is a fictional character.)

Andy Mergendahl

The Bifurcated Lawyering Mind

You organize your experiences in two ways. First, you are always in the moment, but that doesn't have much to do with what you remember later.

Andy Mergendahl

One Lawyer Gives Thanks

Just one lawyer counting his blessings, of which he has many.

Andy Mergendahl

Demographics: the Winning Numbers

Use demographics to help guide your legal strategy. With sites like Five Thirty Eight teaching everyone armchair statistics, it's time for lawyers to incorporate them into your strategy.

Andy Mergendahl

Do “Sexting” and “Mash-Up” Belong in the Dictionary?

Did you know that the question of whether "sexting" gets into the dictionary is part of a war over our language that has been raging for over 50 years?

Bad Day in Court? Don’t Worry, No One Noticed

It's easy to freak out about messing up in court. But most people didn't notice, and if they did, forgot about it almost immediately.

Experience Means, What, Exactly?

How much do you learn about a how good a lawyer is when you learn her year of licensure? Not much.

Andy Mergendahl

Stop Misusing “Such”

Using "such" in place of "the," "that," "those," or "them" is not only not more precise, it's ugly legalese that marks you as a sub-par legal writer.