Writing advice

Come “Bridge the Gap” with me

Come "Bridge the Gap" with meSeptember 28, 2012 Legal writing

  You may have heard some of the recent hubbub about law school graduates’ lack of preparation for the real world of law practice. Well, just in time for new associates to get the training they need to hit the ground running, PLI is offering a “Bridge the Gap” training program this coming Monday. (I know [...]

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Born to write? I think not!

Born to write?  I think not!July 6, 2012 Pop culture

I firmly believe that good legal writing is a learnable skill, accessible to any lawyer who cares enough to learn. In fact, it drives me bonkers when I hear people perpetuating the myth of “either you have it or you don’t” when it comes to writing well. Hogwash! When that idea is touted by one who [...]

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Up for a whirlwind tour of legal writing?

Up for a whirlwind tour of legal writing?June 18, 2012 Legalese

Good!  Join me next Thursday at 1 pm for a one-hour audio-webcast: Writing for Lawyers: A Whirlwind Tour of Legal Writing Fundamentals.  The program is part of a weekly series, One-Hour Briefings, put on by Practising Law Institute (PLI). I’ll call out the most common weaknesses I see in good legal writing, and show you exactly [...]

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Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this discussion of the use of “hopefully”

Hopefully, you'll enjoy this discussion of the use of "hopefully"June 5, 2012 Style and usage

Does it drive you crazy when pedants say it drives them crazy when people start a sentence with hopefully? Well, it does me. I’ve always felt it was perfectly fine to begin a sentence with hopefully. And it turns out I’m in good company.  Prof. Geoff Nunberg, a linguist who blogs at Language Log, recently posted [...]

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My PALS summer writing program is coming right up

My PALS summer writing program is coming right up May 31, 2012 News

It’s that time again. My annual writing program for PALS (Practicing Attorneys for Law Students, a minority mentoring organization) is next Wednesday night at Sullivan & Cromwell (NYC). Come for the food, come for the fun, come for the free writing tips.  Sign up on PALS site. Here’s the description: PALS is pleased to once again [...]

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Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life

Snoopy's Guide to the Writing LifeMay 28, 2012 Pop culture

Who better than Snoopy to provide sage advice on writing and life?  I admit, I may be biased — he was my favorite guy on the Peanuts sheets I slept on for most of my childhood. Apparently, I was in very good company with other word-loving Snoopy fans. In Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life, 30 [...]

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Marketing: a cautionary tale. 

Marketing: a cautionary tale. March 16, 2011 News


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Feeling unsettled?

Feeling unsettled?March 12, 2011 Grammar

Perhaps a lopsided parenthesis is to blame.

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Neverland: where the past subjunctive is used correctly

Neverland: where the past subjunctive is used correctlyMarch 11, 2011 Grammar

Imagine my delight as I strolled through the airport and passed by this grammatically spot-on use of the tricky past subjunctive were. (Don’t get distracted by the irony of AT&T touting its far-reaching cell coverage: so that’s where my iPhone wouldn’t drop calls!) The subjunctive is required here because the statement is counterfactual (um, not true): there [...]

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Said is dead. Use these words instead!

Said is dead. Use these words instead!March 1, 2011 Legalese

Writers (that means you, lawyers), behold the many alternatives to the verb “said.” (They’re not quite synonyms, despite the title.)   Have fun with them. Be bold. And under no circumstances should you ever write, “The court said … .”

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