Lessons in powerful writing (from a lawyer)

The folks in your Legal Department might have a reputation for dry, stilted text. This judgment by Britain’s Lord Denning shows just how vibrant judicial writing (and yours, too) can be.

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Previously, we’ve ranted about bad business writing that sounds like it was drafted by the guys in Compliance. But not all legal types write with desiccated dullness.

Lord Denning, one of the most celebrated judges of the 20th century, was renowned for his way with words. If you’ve ever studied law, you’ll know Denning is always fun to read, and not just because of his frequent disregard for precedent.

His prose is vivid and often tells a story, as in the following extract from Miller v Jackson, one of his most famous judgments.

Read and enjoy. Better still, adopt his style, and you’re well on the way to becoming a more persuasive writer.

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