Writing modern legal English
A one-day seminar meant to help Scandinavian lawyers adapt to the recent and significant changes in the style of modern legal English. By the end of the seminar, the participants should have a healthy disrespect for the archaic legal language used by our grandfathers, and write in the clear, new style used by thoughtful professionals in the modern business and legal English world.
Users of Legal English writers have split into two camps; old style and new style. Old style is the legal English used by our Grandfathers: noun-heavy, written in the passive voice, with lots of legal jargon; the style of Charles Dickens. Old style is condemned by all legal writing experts - “Unbearably, maddeningly, mind-numbingly pompous.” says Mark Fisher of the BBC.
New style is legal English as written in the modern commercial world. New style is supported by the English-speaking judiciary, all the bar associations of the English-speaking nations, associations whose purpose is to introduce clarity in legal writing, and influential legal writing experts such as Bryan Garner, David Daly and Kenneth Adams. New style is the style of Hemingway and Orwell – short, sharp, punchy and aggressive.
- Orwell’s six rules for writing and the KISS rule
- Recognising and eliminating tired old legal clichés
- Writing in the active voice
- Using as few words as possible
- Recognising archaic words, legal jargon and unnecessarily long words and replacing them with normal words as used by normal people
- Using verbs instead of nouns to bring dynamism to your writing
The material is challenging, and participants should already be comfortable with high-level English.
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