In April, the acclaimed legal historian Lawrence Friedman of Stanford Law School celebrated his 90th birthday. We applaud his many contributions to legal literature.
In 1993, Friedman wrote an essay for the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, at the invitation of its founding editor, Bryan A. Garner. Here’s part of what Professor Friedman said then:
Style is inherently personal; we all have to work it out for ourselves. Only a handful of people can be great writers, with a great style. But—and here’s the hopeful part—anybody, I’m convinced, can be a good writer, if he or she works at it. One key to good writing is to be natural. Don’t try to write like somebody else. The second key to good writing is clarity and simplicity. All children are good writers: they write the way they talk, and what they communicate is direct, simple, unadorned, often charming or even insightful. Somehow they lose the knack as they grow older; and by the time these children have matured into law students (or later, into lawyers, jurists, and law professors), they seem incapable of producing anything but a thick, unreadable sludge.
The mission of the Scribes Journal has been to combat this unreadable sludge that surrounds us. In fact, that’s Bryan Garner’s main mission in life.
Join Bryan Garner this fall in “Advanced Legal Writing & Editing” to see how you can do your part—not only for your own but for your clients’ benefit.