Cultured Writing

Bench & Bar Kentucky, Vol. 68, No. 1, pp. 25-26, Jan. 2004

2 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2006

See all articles by Richard A. Bales

Richard A. Bales

Ohio Northern University - Pettit College of Law


Writers must walk a fine line when adding cultural references to their writing. On the one hand, an apt or clever reference can make the reader smile or nod or pause for reflection, and can be a valuable way to sustain the reader's attention on what otherwise may be a less-than-titillating topic. On the other hand, a writer does not want to alienate the reader by making the reader feel excluded because the reader didn't understand the reference, or trivialize the subject material by adding a reference that seems flippant.

This essay argues that writers should use cultural references that lead the reader to a deeper understanding of the topic. However, writers should avoid using cultural references intended simply to impress the reader with the writer's wit or cultural erudition.

Keywords: legal writing, culture, cultural references, references

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Bales, Richard A., Cultured Writing. Bench & Bar Kentucky, Vol. 68, No. 1, pp. 25-26, Jan. 2004. Available at SSRN:

Richard A. Bales (Contact Author)

Ohio Northern University - Pettit College of Law ( email )

525 South Main Street
Ada, OH 45810
United States
419-772-2205 (Phone)


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