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Ax these terms from your legal writing - Appellate Practice News

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Appellate Practice News

Posted on: Mar 9, 2017

As appellate practitioners, we continuously strive to improve our legal writing and find ways to tighten up our prose. In a column for the ABA Journal, Bryan Garner, editor of Black’s Law Dictionary, offers a “blacklist” of words “that do nothing but blemish the documents that contain them.” Here are the words he suggests we all “ax” from our legal writing:

  • and/or
  • herein
  • deem
  • know all men by these presents
  • provided that
  • pursuant to
  • said
  • same
  • shall
  • such
  • whereas
  • witnesseth

It seems that transactional lawyers, litigators, and legislators alike – not just appellate practitioners – could benefit from a review of Bryan’s blacklist.  His column on the subject can be found here.

This article was submitted by Libby Yin Goodknight, Krieg DeVault LLP. If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Appellate Practice Section page, please email Kara Sikorski at


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