Legal writing involves writing information that is geared towards defending or complaining about a particular offense in the court of law. The information written guides other lawyers in the courtroom and also provides critical information to the judge, which is useful in decision making. However, people make a significant number of mistakes in legal writing, which causes some real problems. Here are some common legal writing mistakes individuals should understand so that they can learn how to avoid them.
- Ambiguous Pronouns
One of the most common legal writing mistakes is the use of ambiguous pronouns in a sentence when arguing a case. The pronoun used in a sentence sometimes may refer to more than one antecedent, which leaves the readers contemplating the actual meaning of the phrase. Many people may not understand which pronoun refers to what subject in the sentence which leads to a situation where one can be misinterpreted.
- Unnecessary Wordiness
There is always a confusion about the number of words an individual can use in legal cases. Many words are likely not to be read while a few words might create a perception that one is arrogance and has a sense of entitlement. However, it is always important to be direct and present the argument with fewest words possible. It doesn’t make any difference to use twenty words where one could have used ten words to convey the same meaning.
- Over-Using Legal Language
Mastery of legal jargon is a way of demonstrating expertise and knowledge in legal aspects, but it is sometimes annoying. Not every person in the courtroom is a learned lawyer. Some of the learned lawyers and judges don’t like the Latin language that most lawyers prefer to use. It would be better if one can just use plain language with a little bit of legal jargon. The message is seen and cuts across every person in the courtroom.
- Obvious Grammar Mistakes
Another common legal mistake found in legal writing include apparent grammar mistakes. Even a large number of English native speakers are found committing some grammar mistakes that one would not expect. Common errors such as tenses, spelling, nominalization, and spelling mistakes could bring out a different meaning from what the writer intended.