Briefs and Contracts in Plain English?

6 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2012

See all articles by Wayne Schiess

Wayne Schiess

University of Texas School of Law

Date Written: September 20, 2012


Lawyers, judges, and law professors sometimes vaguely recommend that briefs and contracts "should be written in Plain English." But what does that mean? And is plain English right for all briefs and contracts? This article defines plain English as a form of legal writing intended for nonlawyers and encourages lawyers to be more precise in recommending plain English--and plain-English principles. (Includes several typical legal text in before-and-after form.)

Keywords: plain English, plain language, briefs, contracts, legal writing, legal drafting

Suggested Citation

Schiess, Wayne, Briefs and Contracts in Plain English? (September 20, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Wayne Schiess (Contact Author)

University of Texas School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton St.
Austin, TX 78705
United States


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