“When Numbers Get Serious”*: A Study of Plain English Usage in Briefs Filed Before the New York Court of Appeals
At the time of writing, the academic discipline of legal writing has just celebrated its twenty-fifth birthday in the United States. This is a significant milestone and the discipline enters its second quarter century in impressively robust health: It has three professional organizations dedicated to it, three specialist journals, an ever-expanding bibliography of articles published in other journals and law reviews, two listservs and at least one blog, and a library full of books devoted to its study and teaching. Most law schools in the country employ faculty dedicated to teaching legal writing, many of them adjuncts, to be sure, but many more as full-time teachers. Indeed, because the recognized best-practices model of teaching legal writing involves relatively small classes, it is likely that there are more teachers of legal writing in the current American legal academy than there are for any doctrinal subject. There are, of course, numerous challenges still to be faced by those teaching in the area, but it would be difficult not to view the rapid growth and integration of legal writing into the American legal curriculum as an almost complete success story. . .
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