A while back on his legal writing blog, my former teacher Wayne Schiess asked:

What legal words or phrases would you like to banish? They can be archaic, offensive, baffling, weasel-like, or hyperlegal.

This may be cheating, because it’s not a word or phrase, but I’d like to see all the overly flowery stuff go. Just say what you mean.

“Comes now the Defendant…” “In the above entitled and numbered cause..” “Before the commencement of trial…” “Wherefore premises considered…”

OK. I got those from one of my own standard motions, so maybe I could use some help in this regard. You know – motes and beams. But I’ve seen much worse, especially when I accidentally come across civil lawyers’ writings.

Reminds me of when back in the 80s, while pursuing an undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University, I worked at several jobs to help pay my way through school.  At one ‘student job’ the director of the place I was working for needed to send something – I don’t remember what – to someone.

I do remember the entirety of the letter she had me type up to send along:

Enclosed please find requested enclosures as requested.



A seven word sentence, with two different words or concepts repeated.   That’s got to be some sort of record. “Here’s that stuff you asked me to send you” gets the point across – and won’t have your reader tied up in knots laughing at your pomposity.

  • Russ

    Using the word “find” in this situation is laughable. The interior of an ordinary #11 envelope isn’t that large. Suppose you didn’t find the enclosed enclosures the first time you looked inside. Would you look again, more slowly and more carefully?

    It’s all good for laughs.

    Let’s not eliminate all the overblown, pompous, ridiculous language. We’d have to eliminate the entire government apparatus. Come to think of that, it’s not such a bad idea…

  • Indeed