Legal Writing Blog

A lawyer’s writing skills (or lack thereof) can have a direct—even severe—impact on clients’ interests. Did an employer owe a former employee a $7.5 million commission? The court’s answer hinged on imprecise word usage in an employment contract. (Langford v. Paravant, 912 So.2d 359, (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. (2005)) Did an insurance ...

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A recent Illinois Supreme Court opinion added fuel to the long debate over "shall," a word historically used to convey a mandatory or prohibited action in contracts and legislation. (Thanks to Legal Writing Prof for posting about it.) In People v. Geiler, the defendant argued that a traffic citation should be ...

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During my introduction to contract drafting last week, I reviewed with my students a contracts case that hinged on the meaning of a common, four-letter word: “sale.” Many lawyers wouldn’t think to look up “sale” in a dictionary because everyone "knows" what it means. That seemingly clear word caused a $7.5 million ...

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