Monday, March 28, 2005

Legal journal: Clarity

One reader (I have at least two) pointed out another place to find articles on legal writing: Clarity, the journal of the international movement to simplify legal language. Its website is here:

I read this journal regularly.

If you read Clarity, you'll be seeing the cutting edge of plain legal language. Every issue is full of stories and examples of people working to convert legal documents into plain legal English. No aspect of legal drafting is too inconsequential; Clarity authors tackle them all. For example, the latest issue (November 2004) contained pieces on these subjects:

1. The use of initial capital letters for defined terms in a legal document. The author's position is that we should stop doing it, especially in public documents. Richard Castle, Definitions and Capitals: Where are We? 52 Clarity 31 (Nov. 2004).

2. The use of numerals instead of text for numbers in all contexts--two articles (or should that be 2 articles?). One article was criticizing an earlier article that had advocated legal drafters' using numerals in all contexts. Richard Lauchman, 0 Ate 2 of Jill'r Pairs, 52 Clarity 34 (Nov. 2004). The other article was a response, Robert Eagleson, The Doleful Grip of Convention, 52 Clarity 37 (Nov. 2004), from the author of the first article. Robert Eagleson, Numbers: Figures or Words: A Convention Under the Spotlight, 50 Clarity 32 (Nov. 2003).

Clarity is a wonderful resource for ideas that are pushing the boundaries of what counts as legal drafting.

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