The State of Legal Writing: Res Ipsa Loquitur

There is a glory, it seems, in the mystery of a language that can be deciphered only by initiates of the secret society; there is a great sense of power and an even greater actuality of power in controlling a language that in turn controls the most pressing affairs of individuals and communities; and there is a monopolistic safety in being able to manipulate a language which because it was part of the creation of legal problems must be part of their solutions as well. It was true in 1921, and it is still true sixty-six years later. This essay will suggest some possible causes of traditional legal style and then explore some of the current attempts to do something about it.