Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Legal-writing quiz 7

6. Law professor James White offered this critique of the plain-English movement in his book, Heracles' Bow:

The success of any movement to translate legal speech into Plain English will be severely limited. For if one replaces a Legal Word with an Ordinary English Word, the sense of increased normalcy will be momentary at best: the legal culture will go immediately to work, and the Ordinary Word will begin to lose its shape, its resiliency, and its familiarity, and become, despite all the efforts of the writer, a Legal Word after all.

White’s comments reflect a common misunderstanding about the Plain English movement. What is it?

Answer: That plain English is only about using ordinary words in place of legal words. (Congratulations to Ken Adams)

7. Name the colorful phrase that describes the legal-writing field’s high percentage of women and low status.

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