Bad Words: A Legal Writer's Guide to What Not to Say provides a guide to words and phrases that legal writers should use less often, rarely, or not at all. The book's principal advice is that the easiest way for law students and lawyers to improve their legal writing is to use few, if any, adjectives and adverbs.
To help with that effort, Bad Words lays out—one-by-one—words, phrases, and rhetorical devices that legal writers should use less often or not at all, with an explanation of why for each (delivered with some snark, sarcasm, and good humor).
Offering both a guide to read cover to cover and a desk reference for looking up words while editing and drafting, the book includes an Introduction and three sections: (1) a "Top 50 to Avoid," alphabetically listing adjectives and adverbs that legal writers use most frequently and that, as described in each accompanying explanation, will likely distract, confuse, annoy, or undermine the trust of the writer's audience; (2) a longer, dictionary-style collection of words, phrases, and rhetorical devices that legal writers should use less or not at all, each with an explanation of why; and (3) a "Bonus Material" section including several lists of adjectives and adverbs that did not merit their own entries but are categorized based on a shared reason to avoid them. And the book also includes an alphabetized table of where to find the more than 2,000 words and phrases that the book covers.