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What We Do

If you are in the legal profession, you are likely familiar with the commentary by judges and others that legal writing in briefs is overly turgid, formalistic, and difficult to read. If you are in business or academia, you have likely been aware that writing skills are often in short supply. If you are in the media or otherwise on the Internet, you may have seen that website pages often contain major errors of expression, including syntax, word usage and others.


In the rush to publish, many serious errors are unnoticed. Such issues leave a poor impression with the reader. They likely lose business and impose credibility costs.


I can improve almost every document with an objective view to greater clarity of expression. More clarity yields higher persuasive power.


Here is an example from a recent news report online (later corrected by the publication):


An Amtrak work train has been moved out of the Hudson River rail tunnels that broke down earlier Wednesday morning, disrupting the morning commute to New York and causing 60 minute delays on NJ Transit trains.


What’s wrong? Just about everything. The tunnels did not break down. The train did. The tunnels did not disrupt the commute. The broken-down train did.


Properly stated, it would read this way:

An Amtrak work train that broke down Wednesday morning has been moved out of the Hudson River rail tunnels. The train disrupted the morning commute to New York, causing 60-minute delays on NJ Transit trains.


The report went on,

Amtrak officials said track maintenance equipment) broke down in one of the North River Tunnels.

Even that plan ran onto trouble when PATH trains between Hoboken and World Trade center were delays due to a mechanic problem. PATH trains have resumed running on schedule.


The ‘close parenthesis’ in the first sentence must be removed because there is no ‘open parenthesis.’ The reference to “that plan” seems to refer to the removal of the stalled train mentioned earlier, but it is out of place. Finally, “delays” should be “delayed.”


Such errors are common. I can help you avoid them.


What I Do Not Do: (1) I do not give legal advice or argue the merits of any expression. Greater clarity and accuracy are the purposes of my service. If identifying lack of clarity leads to changes in substantive statements, those judgments are to be made by the client producing the work. (2) I do not perform legal cite checks. (3) I do not give marketing/sales advice. I can identify troubling ambiguities and other issues that often affect marketing materials and websites, but the final decision of how to market or sell is made solely by the client.


Original Writing Services: If you need original material, including speechwriting, I may be able to perform that service as well. Nature and scope of work, as well as rates, are subject to negotiation. Be aware, however, that I will not research or write original material for student assignments.

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