May 06, 2020 On the Papers

What Have the Muses Got to Do with Legal Writing?

We can be persuaded by prose that with ease and grace leads us forward to value some words or some ideas more than others; we are persuaded because we arrive at our perception of the ideas with such ease, grace, and power.

George D. Gopen

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This is the 31st in my series of these essays for Litigation, stretching back to 2011. I am announcing a change of focus. The first 30 dealt with how to achieve clarity in prose by understanding where readers expect to find certain kinds of information in an English sentence. Mastering these reader expectations allows you better to control (1) your writing process, (2) the reader’s interpretive process, and (3) your reengagement with your thinking process as a result of the act of writing. Once you have clarified your intended communication, what more could you strive for? You could strive for elegance.

Illustration by Dave Klug

Illustration by Dave Klug

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