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A (Very) Quick Writing Tip

Baltimore Injury Lawyer Blog by John Bratt

Sometimes you find great information in unlikely places.

Today I got a spam email trying to sell me some editing software specifically for lawyers. I won’t name it, because, duh, they sent me spam email. Somehow it avoided my junk mail folder, so I accidentally read it. And it contained this gem:

Avoid the word "clearly". If you write the word "clearly" in a brief, the judge will double your burden of proof. Ditto "well-settled" and "obviously."

Just because it’s spam, doesn’t mean it’s wrong, folks. Judges (particularly of the appellate variety) generally aren’t stupid. So if something is clear, well-settled, or obvious they are probably going to know without you telling them.

It’s hard to break those kinds of habits. I’m sure i’ve been guilty of it. So this is something to keep an eye out for in our legal writing. Thanks, spam mail.

"Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right."


John Bratt

John Bratt is an attorney at Miller & Zois, LLC. He represents injured plaintiffs in all trial and appellate courts in Maryland. He also accepts attorney referrals for all types of civil appeals. MORE >

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