On Writing, Legal or Otherwise

A recent posting on the 2 Soups website:

I wrote an article a month ago about sports radio as a parable for our times. The crux of it was that I have been listening to WEEI for the past four years while they have continuously debated the merits of Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew. In all that time no one – hosts, call-ins, guests, texters – ever referred to Buzz Bissinger’s seminal baseball book, 3 Nights in August, wherein Drew’s potential and disappointments were discussed, in depth, by no less an expert than Tony LaRussa (who clearly would not trade a bag of used batting practices balls for the guy).

The point was the lack of depth and reference to anything beyond the speaker’s internal knowledge is not only tiring (after the first two or three conversations), but quickly becomes flat ( even with humor tossed in), no longer engaging, and becomes a form of mindless rhetoric.

Legal writing – in any of its myriad forms – can easily follow suit. So much has to be done, so often, it becomes almost rote: the same sentence structure, examples, style, pasted together to meet the immediate need of the brief, motion, notice, request, etc.

In my case, this was telling. The Attorney General’s office never answered my complaint, they just continuously motioned the court to force me to amend it. Those requests were, to say the least, monotonous in content and regularity. They lost them, and they lost badly.

I will go to my grave convinced that citing Samuel Johnson, Graham Greene, and a few others, accounts for being home writing … this. A little extra depth, a little wit, a little style, a skewing reference, made all the difference.


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