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“I do not believe that legal writing exists.” Antonin Scalia

The ABA Journal quotes Justice Scalia’s remarks yesterday on accepting the Scribes lifetime-achievement award:

I do not believe that legal writing exists. That is to say, I do not believe it exists as a separate genre of writing. Rather, I think legal writing belongs to that large, undifferentiated, unglamorous category of writing known as nonfiction prose. Someone who is a good legal writer would, but for the need to master a different substantive subject, be an equivalently good writer of history, economics or, indeed, theology.

Justice Scalia also remembered his days teaching legal writing at the U. Va. Law School:

What I hoped to have conveyed to my charges in those years were merely the prerequisites for self-improvement in writing, which are two things. Number one, the realization—and it occurred to my students as an astounding revelation—that there is an immense difference between writing and good writing. And two, that it takes time and sweat to convert the former into the later.

Comments

Lisa Solomon

For more on Scalia's remarks at the Scribes luncheon, visit http://legalresearchandwritingpro.com/blog/2008/08/14/scalias-remarks-about-legal-writing/

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