This website is no longer being maintained at this location.
As of March 6, 2007 it moved to:
http://www.onlineasp.org.
This site will continue to exist here till December 30, 2007.
If you are linked to this site please establish a link with the new site.

 

For information about the University of Dayton's Academic Support Program
contact Dean Lori Shaw.

 

For information about Professor Randall's Academic Support Services for Minority Students
go to The JD Project, Inc.

 

 

 

Tips on Editing for Legal Writing
Adapted from "Tips on Editing for Legal Writing"
DePaul University College of Law

If you list specific items, ask yourself how all those items are similar. The similarity may suggest a general term that will make the provision more flexible.

If you combine general terms with specific items or lists, state how the general language relates to the specific terms. Are the specific terms illustrations, explanations, exclusive lists, or inclusive lists?

If you use abstract language, think about whether you need to add concrete language to make it clear. For example: 

No unit owner will be permitted to maintain a dog who is a nuisance. A dog shall be deemed a nuisance if it bites, is not fully house broken, is dirty, barks uncontrollably or otherwise misbehaves.

Look for passive voice. Sentences written in the passive voice omit the actor.

When you use "and" or "or," ask yourself two questions:

 

Are the items on the list mutually exclusive? If so, add words that specify exclusivity such as, "one" or "only."

 

Are the items on the list all inclusive? If so, add words that specify unity such as, "all", "both," or "together."

If you have difficulty writing a good heading, perhaps your provision contains too many unrelated ideas. 

Look for repeated language. Will the reader be burdened or helped by the repetition? For example: 

 

BAD: 1) The seller shall provide a title insurance policy insuring that the seller has clear title. 2) The seller shall provide a current survey of the property showing no encroachments.

 

BETTER: The seller shall provide: a title insurance policy insuring that the seller has clear title; and a current survey of the property showing no encroachments.
Look for the word "and." can one of the words or provisions joined by "and" be eliminated without changing your meaning?

Look for words ending in "-ly" or "tion." They may be extraneous modifiers that can be eliminated.

 

 

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, some material on this website is provided for comment, background information, research and/or educational purposes only, without permission from the copyright owner(s), under the "fair use" provisions of the federal copyright laws. These materials may not be distributed for other purposes without permission of the copyright owner(s).
 

 Copyright @ 1997,  2004
Vernellia Randall. All Rights Reserved