On Lawyers and Copy Editors (Book Notice)
8 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2019
Date Written: April 6, 2019
“I have nothing against rules”—a counterintuitive qualifier in a prescriptive book on stylistic minutiae, grammar, commas, usage, and spelling. Nevertheless, Benjamin Dreyer begins the second chapter of Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style this way, and, indeed, the book is less about rules for proper writing than about reducing clarity barriers. In that sense, it reflects modern notions of good writing in the law.
Benjamin Dreyer’s guide is a nice read. It’s short and approachable, and it’s hard to see whose writing would not be improved by its advice. Dreyer’s perspective as a copy editor lends itself well to a lawyer’s role as a supportive, team-oriented writer, and Dreyer’s advice seems readily transposable into the legal context just as easily as into fiction or nonfiction.
Keywords: legal writing, style, copy-editing, style guides
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