COMES NOW Defendant Cross-Plaintiff David Markus (hereinafter referred to as “Defendant” or “Cross-Plaintiff” or “Mr. Markus”), by and through undersigned counsel, who hereby files this motion for summary judgment (the “motion” or “MSJ” or “summary judgment” ) pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (hereinafter “the Rules”) and states as follows.
Oy vey. Did that introduction help in any way to persuade you of anything? Of course not. But Rumpole laps up the legalese in this post over at his blog, which is usually wonderful, but is very wrong on this point.
We no longer write motions on a typewriter with carbon paper. We don’t rent videos from Blockbuster. We don’t take film to a camera store to be developed. We don’t use curled up paper in a fax machine. Or even a fax machine at all.
Likewise, we don’t need words like COMES NOW, hereby, herein, aforementioned, inter alia, heretofore, know all men by these premises, and so on. If the goal of legal writing is to persuade, we should do away with archaic legalese. Plain and easy to understand English is the way to go. Phrases like COMES NOW do not add anything to a motion. They are not persuasive. They are meaningless.
Bryan Garner, the legal writing authority, says the term COMES NOW should be banned and asks whether lawyers who use such terms “think that the phrase made them sound more thunderous and authoritative?” Justice Scalia started this plain English trend at the Supreme Court. And it has taken root with the best legal writers across the courts. From Robin Rosenbaum and William Pryor in the Eleventh Circuit to Alex Kozinski, former Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit.
Rumpole wants to stick to tradition, but this is a tradition that needs to be abandoned. Lawyers also used to wear wigs to court. Saying things like: I’ve received the your blog argument and “ hereby acknowledge same” doesn’t sound lawyerly. It sounds like you’re a wanna-be lawyer.
Rumpole, PLEASE GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.
Okay, don’t use that one either!