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October 27, 2011

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Alan Rau


Every time I used to submit articles to student-edited law reviews I would have to spend a week working at getting the article back to the way it was at the very beginning, before their "edit," brushing aside their obsessiveness and their self importance and their pomposity. Contractions were a part of it. Insistence on useless gerunds after citations ("noting that, "stating that," "opining that...."---how many synonyms are in their style book? ) were another. The final straw was their refusal to countenance the "I": I was expected to say, "The author believes. . . ." I wrote them: "Alan Rau does not refer to himself in the third person"---and yanked the article in favor of a non-student journal. It was a great decision, and I've done the same thing ever since.

Jarod Bona

I concur. In addition, I don't see a problem with contractions in legal briefs. Contractions make prose more readable and I think that is a worthy goal for both legal briefs and law review articles. Perhaps there are people out there that are offended when they read something with a contraction. But we are late enough into the plain english movement for legal writing that I imagine that demographic is shrinking every year.

Burton Carter

cha is mispelt. it should be you!!

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