Your prose should be tight, toned and vigorous if you want to engage rather than repel your reader.

Too often, though, lawyers resort to flabby and lethargic constructions like these:

  • Please be advised that … [omit and just give the damn advice]
  • make available [offer, provide]
  • … when I am able [heard on voicemail and seen in out-of-office replies; do people think when I can is too colloquial? it’s perfectly good]
  • quoted as saying [this always sounds like either I’m not saying that this person actually said this (in case I get into trouble for suggesting that) but she has been reported (by others!) to have said … or just I haven’t bothered to check, but …]
  • duly authorised [something can’t be unduly authorised, can it? duly authorised is a redundancy]

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)

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