Plain English is nobody’s mother tongue. You must work for it. You must learn to write “before” and “after” instead of the nearly ubiquitous “prior to” and “subsequent to.”
In law, we’re besieged by bloated language. Unless you work tirelessly to simplify, you end up becoming just another purveyor of needless complexity and obfuscation.
Take this 22-word sentence: “EEOC guidelines exonerate an employer from liability for hostile-environment sexual harassment if the employer, upon discovering it, acts promptly to end it.”
How is that idea expressed in a law review? Here it is, verbatim, in a glorious 79-word sentence:
Since, under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines pertaining to sexual harassment, an employer is liable for hostile-environment sexual harassment only if it knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt and effective steps to end the harassment, it is possible for employers to be exonerated from liability for hostile-environment sexual harassment when sexual harassment has occurred by individuals within an organization, but the organization took prompt action to prevent further harassment.
Being inundated with mind-numbing verbiage like that, lawyers must learn both to comprehend it quickly and to translate it effectively when it’s their turn to speak or write.
There’s no better first step than Bryan Garner’s seminars. Join us soon and acquire the knack.
You’ve been already? Surely it’s time for a refresher. It’ll be a memorable day well spent.