5 signs of ‘legalese’

People who write legal documents seem to go out of their way to make them hard to understand. Check out these sure indicators of legal writing.

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Fred Rodell, the former dean of Yale Law School, said, “There are two things wrong with most legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content.”

No matter what industry they work in, corporate communicators have had dealings with “legalese.” It’s everywhere: in the employee handbook, in corporate policies, on website disclaimers, in contracts with clients. No matter how many times a non-attorney reads legalese, the true meaning remains elusive.

Tired of writing clear, fluid text? Want to gum it up with legalese? Drop in a few of these attorneys’ standbys to turn your prose into quicksand.

1. Add the following words to your vocabulary and use them whenever you can:

2. Remember your Latin. When else will you get the chance to use the Latin you learned in high school? Sprinkle these phrases in wherever possible:

3. Use long introductory phrases.

Use as many introductory or “throat-clearing” phrases as possible. Examples include:

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