Seeing Through Legalese

More Essays on Plain Language

by Joseph Kimble

Tags: Legal Philosophy/Philosophy and Law, Legal Writing, Literature and Law

Table of Contents (PDF)

273 pp  $25.00

ISBN 978-1-5310-0864-2
eISBN 978-1-5310-0905-2

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This is Joseph Kimble's second book of essays. The first, published in 2006, was acclaimed as "superb," "invaluable," and "a treasure." Seeing Through Legalese collects his more recent writings and promises to be equally good. Kimble, now a distinguished professor emeritus, is a leading figure in the international effort to bring a clearer, plainer style to legal writing and drafting. Every lawyer, law student, legislative drafter, and legal scholar will benefit from these essays. They are brimming with sound advice, helpful guidelines, and real-world examples (drawn in large part from his work in redrafting federal court rules), and several of them respond to the continuing false criticisms of plain legal language. Readers will find variety, inspiration, and instruction in these pages, all delivered in the author's spirited, incisive style.

"Joe is the recognized leader in the effort to bring a clearer, plainer style to legal writing and drafting ... [The] book is full of before-and-after versions of documents that we [writing professors] can use as illustrations in our teaching. You will enjoy this book and learn from it." —Legal Skills Prof Blog

"Joe Kimble's latest book is a treasure trove of essays . . . . The book is packed with project case studies and before-and-after examples, . . . contains guidance and commentary on how to achieve clarity in legal writing, . . . explains the philosophy behind plain language, and gives insights into Joe's amazing career . . . . This book is no dry dissertation — it's an enjoyable read. Joe includes a few speeches he's given over the years. These speeches are packed with insights into his drive to elevate the quality of legal [writing] . . . ." —Write (New Zealand) blog

"Every lawyer who drafts transactional documents or legislation needs this book . . . . In addition to his drafting lessons, Kimble includes essays on a variety of legal-writing topics . . . . [Seeing Through Legalese] is a treasure trove of advice 30 years in the making." —CBA (Chicago Bar Association) Record

"Joe puts his drafting and editing choices out there for the world to see—complete with detailed annotations and explanations of why he made them. . . . Seeing Through Legalese, if you attend to it carefully, is bound to make you a better editor and a better writer. . . . All in all, [the book] addresses so many issues about plain language—from wording to editing to citing— that it is worth its weight in gold." —Michigan Bar Journal

"The collection is what the author wants all legal writing to be: well written (which is to say, written and organized so that it can be easily understood), informative, and appropriately light. . . . To those who support using plain language in legal writing: This book is for you, and I recommend you read it as soon as possible." —Florida Bar Journal

"Seeing Through Legalese, Kimble's latest and most definitive book, is particularly candid and cogent about legal writing. . . . [It] is indispensable for any lawyer or legal professional who wants to write better. Kimble offers funny anecdotes of triumph and dismay in his fight for legal-writing clarity. His examples and advice make learning to write entertaining and painless." —New York Law Journal

"Seeing Through Legalese would be a valuable addition to the library of any legislative drafter... [O]verall this is a terrific book that I thoroughly recommend. Joe Kimble deservedly is a legend in the plain language world, and we all have much to learn from him." - The Loophole (Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel)

"[An] invaluable addition to the 'legal writing' shelves of all lawyers. The tips and techniques . . . will help all lawyers write with brevity, precision and panache. . . . [N]ot merely enlightening, but also instructive, engaging and refreshing." — Australian Law Journal