Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sources: The Elements of Style

From the excellent legal-writing blog the (new) legal writer, by Raymond Ward, this note:
  • Recently I was admitted to the Bar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. In yesterday's mail, my certificate of admission arrived--accompanied by a copy of The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.andd E.B. White. Perhaps this is the court's way of suggesting that lawyers follow Strunk's and White's rules when writing briefs, motions, and other papers.
I commend the Eleventh Circuit for promoting good writing and for encouraging lawyers to follow The Elements of Style.

In fact, I know of a case in which the judge, exasperated by the lawyer's shoddily written complaint, recommended the same book:
    To assist plaintiff's attorney, the court . . . recommends that plaintiff's attorney study William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White, The Elements of Style.
Politico v. Promus Hotels, Inc., 184 F.R.D. 232, 234 (E.D.N.Y. 1999).

Ouch. (I discuss that case and others like it in chapter 15 of my book, Better Legal Writing, linked below.)

But I must ask, how far will Strunk & White take you in mastering legal-writing style? I answer that tomorrow.

Better Legal Writing
Writing for the Legal Audience

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