Judge berates lawyers for bad grammar

By Lawyers Weekly|03 March 2012

A US judge has become so irritated by lawyers' poor grammar and excessive use of legalese that he's prepared his own guidelines for lawyers submitting orders to him.Judge Robert Kressel, a…

A US judge has become so irritated by lawyers' poor grammar and excessive use of legalese that he's prepared his own guidelines for lawyers submitting orders to him.

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Judge Robert Kressel, a bankruptcy judge from Minnesota said that his personal goal when preparing orders is to "use regular grammatical English as much as possible" and he clearly expects lawyers appearing before him to do the same.

As reported by legal blog nycoveragecounsel, the guidelines reprimand lawyers for their excessive use of capital letters.

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"Lawyers apparently love to capitalize words. Pleadings, including proposed orders, are commonly full of words that are capitalized, not quite randomly, but certainly with great abandon. Please limit the use of capitalization to proper nouns," guideline number 6 reads.

Also under attack in guideline number 9 is the use of unnecessary legal words, which serve no purpose, as Kressel says, "other than to make the document sound more legal, which is exactly the opposite of the goal I am trying to accomplish".

Phrases and words on Kressel's black list include "hereby", "herein", "in and for", "heretofore entered in this case" and "be, and hereby is" - no argument from Folklaw.

Rather shamefully for lawyers, Kressel has also found it necessary to include a specific guideline concerning the use of "it's" and "its". In a trip down memory lane back to third grade, guideline number 17 states: "Please use the possessive noun "its" and the contraction "it's" correctly."

To see the full guidelines click here.

Judge berates lawyers for bad grammar
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