's Blog

Legalese Hall of Shame

Posted by on 08/30/2010 at 01:24 PM


"Writing" Down the House

Sure, some of your casebooks are chock full of long sentences and archaic language, forsooth. But that doesn't mean your writing has to get bogged down with such legalese. Your writing can be lean and mean.

To see funny examples of legalese and a plain English translation, check out this website, The Party of the First Part, written by Adam Freedman. His "Legalese Hall of Shame" is priceless.

Mr. Freedman has written the "Legal Lingo" column for the New York Law Journal Magazine since 2002 and was a litigator in New York City before joining a major investment bank, where he currently earns his living decoding policies and procedures into Plain English. He holds degrees from Yale, Oxford, and the University of Chicago and has written for Newsweek International, Slate.com, and The Guardian Weekly, among others.


There are many good texts available on writing in clear, concise, plain English. One I like is called Revising Prose by Richard Lanham. Professor Lanham walks you through a process of revising that is easy to understand and will do wonders for your prose.