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  1. #21
    Reigning Bologna Princess Rajah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Could it be because the legal profession attracts some quite pompous rule obsessed naysayers? Sorry, I don't include you in that.. but it does, right? Regardless of the training they just like to witter on in a pompous manner sometimes.

    Also, many legal firms seem to charge by the page. Never a good idea when balancing that with succintness. That certainly used to be the case, but maybe is less common in today's email world?

    -Geoff
    I've only ever worked for firms that charged hourly. That's the standard 'round these parts.

    Here's what I think, broadly:

    (1) Lawyers have inflated egos, and like to use "impressive" vocabulary. They don't focus on writing skills, because they just figure they know it all already.
    (2) Lawyers are afraid to commit to a definite position. If they do, there's less room to wiggle out of it. Their wishy-washy writing reflects this.
    (3) If you have a 25-page limit for a brief, a client expects you to use it. Even if you can say what you need to say in ten pages, the client assumes you're not doing a stellar job if you don't use all 25.


    I... suppose. Yeah!

  2. #22
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rajah View Post
    (2) Lawyers are afraid to commit to a definite position. If they do, there's less room to wiggle out of it. Their wishy-washy writing reflects this.
    Oh yes! I've seen that far too many times...

    Some of my favourite lawyer phrases (and my thoughts on them) that I try and avoid are :

    "There is a view that.... " (yes, and do you agree with it?")

    "It is said that...." (but is it said by you?)

    "On the balance of probabilities..." (believe me at your peril)

    "In the interests of a speedy resolution...." (10 pages letter, I shall be sending you an invoice).

    I imagine you've seen a few of those yourself....

    -Geoff

  3. #23
    Reigning Bologna Princess Rajah's Avatar
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    Seen 'em? I've written them.



    I... suppose. Yeah!

  4. #24
    Senior Member Bushranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rajah View Post
    (1) Lawyers have inflated egos, and like to use "impressive" vocabulary. They don't focus on writing skills, because they just figure they know it all already.
    Lawyers have to read A LOT, and there is an assumption that writing skill will transfer magically through some form of osmosis. One problem is that most of what they read has been written by other lawyers.
    I'll get you my pretty, and your little hermit crab too!

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Oh yes! I've seen that far too many times...

    Some of my favourite lawyer phrases (and my thoughts on them) that I try and avoid are :

    "There is a view that.... " (yes, and do you agree with it?")

    "It is said that...." (but is it said by you?)

    "On the balance of probabilities..." (believe me at your peril)

    "In the interests of a speedy resolution...." (10 pages letter, I shall be sending you an invoice).

    I imagine you've seen a few of those yourself....

    -Geoff
    I tend to do this also, though less because of the lawyer wiggling out reason (I am not planning to become a lawyer any time soon), than because I am a bit of a mistrusting person, like to keep track of all possibilities, and often do not know everything, so will want to communicate this across.

    I have learned that throwing around a bunch of big words is a bad idea in writing, since just about every concept that can be talked about can be expressed in everyday words (except for a few technical ones, such as mitochondrium, entropy, and such, plus maybe a few others.), often it seems that if a person can't express something in everyday words, tan they understand it less well, ibecause they memorized the word rather than learning the ideas behind what they are talking about.

  6. #26
    shoshaku jushaku rivercrow's Avatar
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    The general population perceives bureaucratese and passive sentence construction as indicators of intelligence.

    In reality, a clear and concise statement may much harder to write.
    Who rises in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, "I think I will do something stupid today?" -- James Hollis
    If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Whaling is illegal in Oklahoma.

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