Rather than simply add to templates, law firms should routinely review templates for the purpose of deleting anything extraneous or dated (“heretofore” went out of style last century).
This is particularly important when it comes to contract clauses or motion templates that may have relied on older overruled precedent.
Sometimes attorneys have to use certain words and phrases because they are required to meet the basic requirements for a case.
This can lead to some pretty awkward language in pleadings and briefs.
If you disliked the “gunners” or know-it-alls of law school, imagine how ordinary people view regular attorneys.
This means lawyers end up having to use a lot of words that might seem unnecessary, but really are required to avoid problems later on.Emails and letters full of legalese are more often left unanswered or answered with incorrect information based on a misunderstanding.If your goal is to avoid receiving a response, feel free to be confusing, but that is rarely the case if you are communicating with a client, potential witness, or other similar person.It would take quite a bit of time to redraft a whole contract from scratch, and neither law firm partners nor their clients want to pay for it.That said, however, doing regular spring cleaning of your firm’s templates is a fantastic idea.One of the reasons so much legalize ends up in documents, like contracts, is because it contains the respective contributions of generations of attorneys.Attorneys tend to glob on additional language they believe is necessary, resulting in confusing run-on sentences and outdated terminology.Very few lawyers put any real consideration into their legal writing.We are not referring to considerations of verbiage or comma placement; those are the types of minutia that lawyers will get hung up on regularly. The first rule of any form of writing is to know your audience.Lawyers often feel the need to write like a lawyers, so that they will earn respect.This is different from intentionally making the document difficult to read to protect a trade guild’s insularity.