Legal Writing


Get to the Point!

You Lost Me Right From the Start: Avoiding Communication Turn-offs

By | Dec.12.17 | No Comments

You’re articulate, right? You appreciate and emulate good legal writing. So why do you turn off so many listeners and readers so soon? In the film “Jerry Maguire,” Renee Zellweger as Dorothy Boyd tells Tom Cruise’s …Continue reading »


Get to the Point!

The Death of Capitalization

By | Nov.07.17 | No Comments

It started with the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone. Capital letters appeared in places they never appeared before. Grammar rules call for capitalizing proper names, but now the correct reference to some brands calls …Continue reading »


The Analog Attorney

The Perfect Pencil, the Perfect Pen

By | Oct.28.17 | 1 Comment

Like you, I take a lot of notes in my professional life. Over the years I’ve developed silly obsessions with the quality of Ampad legal pads and National Brand 33-004 notebooks. But I never thought …Continue reading »


Get to the Point!

You Can Conduct an Internet Search, But Should You Google?

By | Oct.03.17 | No Comments

I once defended a product liability case where the client was adamant that the product always be called a “personal watercraft.” It most definitely was not, he insisted, a Jet-Ski. The issue was the use …Continue reading »


Get to the Point!

Don’t Be Tricked by These False Friends

By | Sep.11.17 | No Comments

Some words sound like they mean one thing when they actually mean something very different. Using one of these false friends incorrectly could cause you a problem. But It Sounded Right … The term “false friends” traditionally …Continue reading »


Content Under Pressure

Harnessing the Intuitive, Persuasive Power of Analogy

By | Sep.05.17 | No Comments

We all struggle with conveying complicated ideas, whether in spoken or written communication. The issue is particularly acute in the fields of law and medicine, where professionals work to explain issues and situations in which …Continue reading »


Get to the Point!

Contronyms: Context Controls Comprehension

By | Aug.07.17 | 1 Comment

Sanctions. That word has always troubled me. It’s a contronym, a word that has opposite meanings. Lawyers know that a motion for sanctions asks the court to penalize an adversary’s bad act. But other English speakers …Continue reading »


Content Under Pressure

Proofreading and Mindfulness: Bringing a Nonjudgmental Observer to Your Copy

By | Jul.05.17 | 1 Comment

With spellcheckers and online grammar guardians such as Grammarly, proofreading has become a nostalgic pastime for some writers. But proofreading is more than spotting typographical errors; it is a chance to impartially consider usage and …Continue reading »


Get to the Point!

Why Superlatives May Not Be So Super

By | Jun.13.17 | No Comments

“Get to the Point” has previously preached that specificity enhances credibility. In fact, I’m working on a cross-stitch with this aphorism to place on the office wall. Using an unsupported superlative flouts this rule. Ugly, Uglier, …Continue reading »


Content Under Pressure

Style Guides: Maintaining a Healthy Relationship Between Creator and Content

By | Jun.01.17 | No Comments

Most of us have a generally good grasp of English usage and punctuation. The problem is that some usage and punctuation errors are so subtle and pervasive that we are tricked into thinking they are …Continue reading »