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Lighten Up

Make your writing more enjoyable to read by dropping deadweight openers—however, additionally, consequently, accordingly.

Consider these examples from John Roberts’s Supreme Court briefs.

His lighter touches—thus, so, but, also—replace the heavy beginnings we so often see.

Typical lawyer:

However, the EPA cannot claim that ADEC’s decision was “unreasoned.” In addition, the EPA cannot assert that ADEC’s determination in any way results in emissions exceeding national standards or permitted increments.

Roberts:

But the EPA cannot claim that ADEC’s decision was “unreasoned.” Nor can the EPA assert that ADEC’s determination in any way results in emissions exceeding national standards or permitted increments.

(Petitioner’s Brief, Alaska v. EPA)
Typical lawyer:

Accordingly, the Act is directed at entities that do not themselves transact business in Maine, and it effectively changes the terms of transactions between manufacturers and wholesalers that do not occur in Maine.

Roberts:

The Act thus is directed at entities that do not themselves transact business in Maine, and it effectively changes the terms of transactions between manufacturers and wholesalers that do not occur in Maine.

(Amicus Brief for U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America v. Concannon)
Typical lawyer:

Substituting one decisionmaker for another may yield a different result, but not in any sense a more “correct” one. In like manner, in this case...

Roberts:

Substituting one decisionmaker for another may yield a different result, but not in any sense a more “correct” one. So too here.

(Petitioner’s Brief, Alaska v. EPA)
Typical lawyer:

As a result of the fact that SSA would continue to carry out those responsibilities after October 1, 1993, Congress not surprisingly provided that the appropriation would remain available “until expended.”

Roberts:

Because SSA would continue to carry out those responsibilities after October 1, 1993, Congress not surprisingly provided that the appropriation would remain available “until expended.”

(Respondents’ Brief, Barnhart v. Peabody Coal Company)
Typical lawyer:

Additionally, ASORA is excessive because it operates to infringe upon fundamental liberties of persons convicted of a sex offense who pose no threat whatsoever to the public.

Roberts:

The ASORA is also excessive because it operates to infringe upon fundamental liberties of persons convicted of a sex offense who pose no threat whatsoever to the public.

(Respondents’ Brief, Godfrey v. Doe)
Typical lawyer:

In addition, the agreement provides for a committee of local Inupiat elders to oversee mining operations.

Roberts:

The agreement also provides for a committee of local Inupiat elders to oversee mining operations.

(Petitioner’s Brief, Alaska v. EPA)

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