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Owning your downloaded legal authorities

The lawyer’s moral obligation to write well

Do lawyers have a moral obligation to write well? Jack Lee Sammons thinks so. In an essay you can download here, he explains his position. By “writing well,” he does not mean elevating rules of usage to moral status. Rather, “the language of the law is used well when it is used honestly to persuade another person, when the identification between writer and reader that persuasion seeks is an accomplishment of the conversation itself rather than a recognition of a shared identity formed prior to it, and when the language is, in James Boyd White’s term, the ‘living speech’ of a fully human person, a real self at work behind the words.” Jack Lee Sammons, The Lawyer’s Moral Obligation to Write Well (January 20, 2009). The Complete Lawyer, February 2009. Available at SSRN:


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