Lifting the Fog of Legalese

Essays on Plain Language

by Joseph Kimble

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

Table of Contents (PDF)

216 pp  $23.00

ISBN 978-1-59460-212-2

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This book is unique. No other American book combines the strong evidence and myth-busting arguments for plain legal language with so much practical advice and so many useful examples. And no other book is more likely to open lawyers' eyes to the emptiness of legalese—the style that has afflicted legal writing for centuries.

Joseph Kimble, a leading expert on plain language, has collected in this one book many of his published essays. They will interest and inform judges, lawyers, law students, legal scholars, and anyone else who engages in legal writing. If writing is the lawyer's most valuable skill, then no lawyer can afford to be without Lifting the Fog of Legalese. It will change the attitude of those who resist plain language and inspire those who have embraced it.

3rd printing, 2011

"Joseph Kimble is an important, original thinker on legal language. He is also a virtuoso writer and editor. In this book he brings all those qualities to bear—and no lawyer can safely ignore the wisdom it contains." — Bryan A. Garner President, LawProse, Inc. and author of A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage

"Here is Heaven's plenty: Joe Kimble's outstanding work gathered into one volume. Add this volume to your shelf of indispensable books. Kimble's suggestions are clear, concise, and specific, with plenty of real-world examples to illustrate his points, as well as demonstrate that plain language and legal writing should not be strangers but inseparable companions. Get this book, and then get a copy for every lawyer, judge, legislator, and law professor you know." — William Lutz, Professor of English, Rutgers University and author of The New Doublespeak: Why No One Knows What Anyone's Saying Anymore

"Joseph Kimble's collection of essays is divided into two parts. Part One will convince you — if you need convincing — that we lawyers should shape up the way we write. Part Two will show you how to do it, using concise guidelines, patient explanations, and a host of examples. This book belongs in the library of every lawyer who takes language seriously." — Richard C. Wydick, University of California at Davis School of Law and author of Plain English for Lawyers

"This is a superb, well-written book in an understandable language (plain English) that some lawyers and bureaucrats will wish was never written. It explodes the myths put forward by people who either are lazy or intend to confound, and it points out many ways to use precise and clear prose to tell it 'as it is.' I loved it!" — Arthur Levitt, Former Chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

"Lifting the Fog is a useful reference, particularly for junior attorneys tempted to 'sound like a lawyer.'" — Chicago Bar Association Record

"[Kimble's] incisive essays are enough to make any writer swear off legalese forever." — Student Lawyer

"A collection of enjoyable and valuable essays…" — Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing

"This is a dynamic collection… More than mere essays about plain language, [they] provide sound guidelines and vivid demonstrations of how to master the art of clear, precise, and readable prose… Kimble is a master of the craft. As a result, Lifting the Fog is highly readable, briskly paced, and enjoyable. This book is a fine piece of advocay in support of plain English. It is also a useful reference book, jam-packed with inspiration, solutions to common writing problems, tips, and examples." — Trial

"The collection [of Kimble's essays] will satisfy his many fans and introduce those new to plain language to a master of the skill… This is a thoroughly enjoyable book, and its lessons are invaluable." — Law Institute Journal

"[T]he book is timely and important… [I]t would be good if Joe Kimble's text could land on the tables of Australia's law deans, court librarians, and parliamentary counsels' chambers… Following Kimble's chief rules is not difficult—doing so would make a noticeable difference." — Justice Michael Kirby (High Court of Australia), Australian Law Journal

"If you take language seriously, you should read this book. It is relevant equally to practitioners and academics; [and] public and private sectors… Kimble's passion for his subject shines through… There is a great deal of practical, sensible advice in the book." — The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland

"Lifting the Fog of Legalese is an entertaining and stimulating read and will be a good addition to academic, county, court, and firm libraries—basically any setting where lawyers are producing documents." — Law Library Journal

"I highly recommend Lifting the Fog of Legalese to all attorneys… We have an obligation to be clear and accessible in our writing, and Joe Kimble shows us the way." — The Colorado Lawyer

"[A] highly engaging book… In example after example, Kimble demonstrates how cleaning up syntax and formatting can drastically improve a document… Kimble's book is an excellent resource for anyone who cares to join the effort to improve legal writing." — New York Law Journal

"Lifting the Fog of Legalese is a treasure for lawyers who want to write more clearly." — New Hampshire Bar Association