Law Library Notes

February 21, 2014

Textual citations make legal writing onerous, for lawyers and nonlawyers alike

Filed under: Uncategorized — Troy Johnson @ 1:03 pm

Bryan garner the editor-in-chief of all current editions of Black’s Law Dictionary has an interesting article at the ABA Journal website – Textual citations make legal writing onerous, for lawyers and nonlawyers alike (Take note of the comments to the article, many of the comments make interesting points)
Excerpt: Although legal writing is the least skimmable prose known to humankind, those who create it commonly do something that forces readers to skip over dozens, even hundreds, of characters in almost every paragraph. I refer, of course, to citations: the volume numbers and page numbers that clutter lawyers’ prose. These superfluous characters amount to useless detail that distracts the reader from the content. This habit also results in two evils that you might think contradictory: overlong sentences and paragraphs on the one hand (the extra characters bulk it up, after all), and underdeveloped paragraphs on the other.

 

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