To Be or Not To Be: A Quick Trick to Strengthen Your Writing Style

C. Edward Good

©2015. Published in Landslide, Vol. 7, No. 4, March/April 2015, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

In the late 1980s, I received a call from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Officials there asked if I would conduct an on-site program in effective legal writing for 150 lawyers in Washington and New York. Of course, I said. I do that for a living. After providing programs for those 150 lawyers, the SEC officials called back and asked if I would present a “special” course for the managing attorneys. “We want them to use the same approach in their editing,” they said.

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