“You’re changing my voice!” someone will say upon seeing a good editor’s work. “Yes,” we like to say. “Your voice needs a change.”
At LawProse, we counsel legal writers to try to sound like the voice of reason. If you sound like something else, you’re less likely to be believed. Sound like a human being, yes, but an eminently sensible one. Good judgment suffuses good prose: it’s evident in everything from how to punctuate to how to respond to a misleading opponent.
We’ve been influenced by the 20th-century critic F.L. Lucas, who wrote: “If you wish your writing to seem good, your character must seem at least partly so. And since in the long run deception is likely to be found out, your character had better not only seem good, but be it.”