Make the words count…….
Each and every one.
Lawyers are verbose – not always in a pompous way, although some are but they can’t help it. They also like to hide behind terminology that only they understand.
This creep has arisen for two primary reasons:
1. To justify their costs; and
2. Because of the need to practice defensively.
Even judges are not immune. When I first went into the practice the case reports were shorter but as we have bulked up our legislation and there is an increased proclivity for parties to challenge every decision, so judges have felt the need to fight fire with fire.
One thing blogging has shown me is the value of words.
Yes I know Seth Godin gets talked about endlessly but very often his most powerful and insightul posts are the shortest.
Challenge yourself next time you write an email, letter, proposal or a blog post (yes there are lawyers that blog) to use 10% less than usual. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to give yourself a word limit or write something and then see if what you said can be said with fewer words. If all this seems like too much hassle, then at least start to think more carefully about the value and longevity of your words.
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