Friday, November 16, 2012

On Writing Styles

Over at Lawyerist, Matthew Salzwedel has an interesting piece that discusses the two main schools of  writing styles, the Asiatics and Atticists.  As usual, I'll let Salzwedel's article speak for itself, but I will leave you with this simple formula.  For an example of the Asiatic tradition, you should dust off your old casebooks (assuming you did not resell them to the school bookstore for pennies on the dollar), and re-read every ancient torts and contracts you can.  Anything pre-1970 will do.  Think Erie Railroad.  

For the Attic style, you should retrieve your high school English book, and read the "plain, unadorned style" of Thoreau:     

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. 

Ironically, the elements of good legal writing are learned in secondary school.  Go figure.

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