From the Blog

May 29, 2014

Stephen R. Senn Published Article on Legal Writing

Written by: Stephen R. Senn

Stephen R. Senn‘s article, Strunk and White, and Legal Writing, has been published in the May 2014 issue of For the Defense, which is the flagship publication of the Defense Research Institute.  In the article, Steve Senn lauds Professor Strunk and E.B. White’s classic writing guide, and recommends the principles stated in their work, The Elements of Style, to attorneys who want to improve their writing. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

“My introduction to The Elements of Style occurred in the first year of law school. A talented writing instructor explained that though there may be many styles of great writing, attorneys must write to persuade. Persuasion is best achieved by accuracy, brevity, and clarity. We were taught to state the essential points in a clear and well-organized manner, and to avoid decorative prose, unfamiliar words, or discursive side-trails that meander without serving a clear purpose. As an enthusiast of meandering side-trails, this last for me was a hard lesson. I recall discussions of a complexity scale roughly extending from Hemingway on one pole to Faulkner on the other. Both were great writers, but Hemingway would make the better lawyer. In legal writing, short and simple is more effective. The Elements of Style provides this lesson, serves as an example of its truth, and offers guiding principles by which this style may be achieved.”

For more, check out his whole article.