Now comes the author of this article who, pursuant to said article, for the reasons set forth herein, prays, among other things, for relief from antiquated expressions, unnecessary Latinisms, and convoluted legal jargon that plague most of legal writings. Stubbornly clinging to language they would never use in any other context, many legal writers have an irrational aversion to expressing themselves in plain language. But is it really necessary to “pray” for relief instead of asking for it?

Is it more persuasive to argue that the customer is entitled to relief “pursuant to” Section 4.16 rather than merely “under” Section 4.16? And is the Claimant really coming now? The general consensus is that the answer to all three questions is a resounding “no” and that legal writing is, in fact, much more effective without the legal jargon.

The Plain English Movement

Over the past two decades, the move away from legal jargon and towards legalEASE has been palpable and encouraging. In his book, “The Winning Brief,” legal writing guru Bryan Garner includes chapters with advice such as “eliminate jargon known as legal jargon,” “remove compliance from your vocabulary,” and “don’t use such as a pronoun.” . The University of Virginia Law School alumni page touts its legal research and writing program as a way to help students “win the battle against legal jargon.” A UCLA professor posts a page online titled “avoid, evade, and/or eradicate legal tenancy.” We’re bombarded by ads for CLE writing seminars that promise to teach us how to write clearly, in plain English. Yet many lawyers continue to cling to their legal jargon.

Resistance to Abandonment

It seems obvious that confusing jargon is the enemy of clarity and persuasiveness, but the fact that we need to attend seminars or read books to learn to write plain English is a testament to how deeply ingrained this strange legal language has become. . Why the resistance? One explanation may be that aspiring lawyers spend three years in law school reading cases, decisions that are often centuries old, and assume that 21st-century lawyers must write like 19th-century judges. They continue to write in this style out of habit or a misguided sense of tradition. Other lawyers are convinced that the legal jargon is more accurate. However, in most cases, the opposite is true: the legal jargon is less precise, redundant (“cease and desist,” “by and through counsel”), and unwieldy, “unwieldy.”

Behind the resistance there may be a vague and insecure feeling that lawyers need to write legalease in order to sound like lawyers and stand out from the rest of the population. After all, can’t someone of average intelligence write a contract or an appeal brief in plain language? The answer, of course, is no. Replacing “parts of the present” with “Jones and Smith” devalues ​​the importance of lawyers no more than calling a megapixel a “millionth of a screen” would make computer technicians obsolete. Lawyers are not paid for their ability to handle incomprehensible jargon. Rather, his unique ability to reason like a lawyer, to weave persuasive arguments from facts and precedent, and to pay attention to detail, sets legal writers apart from the rest of the population. Of course, there will always be a single legal lexicon, full of art terms like “simple fee” and “res judicata.” Every profession has its jargon. But the legal profession is the only one that has felt the need to have its own pronouns, unique to the English language, and use them to alter that language.

In conclusion

THEREFORE, for the reasons set forth in this document, we respectfully request that this honorable reader abandon legal jargon and begin presenting clear arguments in plain language.

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