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Fear: The root of bad legal writing.

Jeremy Richey was kind enough to point me to this post at Illinois L@wyer. The post’s author, Jim Covington, quotes Stephen King: “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”

I think King’s observation applies to legal writing. From what I’ve seen, most bad legal writing stems from a drive to fit in with the herd—to do whatever everyone else is doing. People are afraid to do things differently from the way they see most others do them. Folks, if you strive to follow the herd, you won’t distinguish yourself. Dare to do things differently; it’s the only way to set yourself apart.



I think unresolved conflict is at the heart of most bad writing -- ambiguity stemming from a postponed decision, or the inability to look squarely at the matter at hand and name it.

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