Test your editing skills!
In our last three lessons, we’ve discussed various tips for legal editing. (See Lesson #186, Lesson #187, and Lesson #188.) Now it’s time for you to put those techniques into practice. Try your hand at editing the rough draft of a motion (see below). Keep these points in mind: use precise, strong verbs; avoid legalese and wordy constructions; replace zombie nouns with verbs where appropriate; cut unnecessary prepositional phrases; fix nonparallel series; and eliminate throat-clearing phrases. Of course, fix any typos or punctuation errors you spot. You may want to copy the passage into a separate (double-spaced) document to give yourself more space to edit.
Generally, strong editors will each improve a written piece with similar edits. But no one right answer exists—the writer’s style plays a role, too. We’ll post our edited version at 11 a.m. CST on Wednesday, Nov. 26 on this blog at www.lawprose.org/blog/. Have fun!
An editing exercise.
COMES NOW, Marcus Doyle and files this Motion to Extend Time for Filing of Pretrial Order, and in support thereof is respectfully showing the Court the following: On August 4th, 2014, this Court ordered Doyle, pursuant to Rule 16(b), to submit a pretrial order prior to January 30, 2015. The defendant has been diligent with his preparation for trial. However, more time is required to assemble exhibits, examine the plaintiffs exhibits, and for preparation of properly-supported objections. It should be noted that the case is set for trial on March 30, 2015; the granting of the extension of the pretrial filing deadline at this point in time would not cause the trial to be delayed. Doyle requests that this Court grant the Motion, extending the time for filing the Pretrial Order until March 2, 2015. A proposed order is attached for the conveneince of the Court. [146 words]