Business Law Legal Topics Legal Writing New Lawyers

Oh, What a Difference Plain English Makes!

Any document you draft—from an email to a settlement agreement—should be written in plain, understandable language. But many attorneys still fall into the trap of using stilted, legalistic language, particularly in contracts and other transactional documents. Compare the following purchase agreement recitals and see what a difference plain English makes.

Legal Writing New Lawyers

Turn Legalese into Plain English

174431990A contract shouldn’t require a Latin-English dictionary to understand it! In fact, there’s generally no reason to use Latin terms or formal legal language (legalese) at all. Use plain English to be sure the contracts and other documents you’re writing are in a language that the parties can read and understand. Here’s a chart to keep handy next time you’re drafting a legal document (or to discreetly slip to a legalese-laden colleague).

Legal Writing Practice of Law

Make It Clear to the Judge

Too many lawyers write in a style not persuasive to a busy judge. We learned this unpersuasive style in college and law school — ­ it’s called the academic style. Academic style is marked by mind-numbing details, bloated sentences, and meandering paragraphs. Exactly what you don’t want when writing for a judge.