Connect with us


If lawyers gang up, clients will hang up.

A writer on writing, Chinua wrote ‘Brief-Writing Masterclass’; ‘Judicial Writing: A Benchmark for the Bench’; ‘Uncommon Law of Learned Writing’; and ‘Fair Hearing in Nigeria’.

Chinua is the dean of The Write House ( and the senior partner of Assizes Lawfirm (

An upwrite and writeous autodidact, Chinua is all write.



If lawyers gang up, clients will hang up.

Law is complex enough. The legal issues that feature in legal writing are complex and difficult.

Don’t add an extra layer of difficulty for your readers to wrestle with by using unnecessarily convoluted language. The mark of a true professional is the ability to convey complex ideas in simple language.

“A complex thought can usually be best expressed through a series of short, declarative sentences, rather than” a long, complicated, convoluted, multi-clause sentence. Lawrence D. Rosenberg, ‘Writing to Win: The Art and Science of Compelling Written Advocacy,’ ABA Section on Litigation Annual Conference (18–20 April 2012), 12.

Making a simple thing difficult is a symptom of defective intelligence.

Keeping a simple thing simple is common sense.

Making a difficult thing simple is an emblem of intelligence.

Keeping a difficult thing difficult is mediocrity.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it amply.

The audience for most legal writing extends well beyond the legal community. “Much of what lawyers write—contracts, statutes, judgments, decrees—has the laity as its ultimate audience. Lawyers, like journalists and teachers, have reason to break out of their closed circles and write … for everyone who can read.” James C. Raymond, ‘Writing to be Read’ (Presentation at the New Zealand Law Conference, Wellington, 1993), 3.

As things now stand, the profession faces an existential crisis. If we lawyers don’t move quickly to take care of lay-audience needs, nonlawyers may very well invade our temple and introduce the changes themselves, turning us into illegal aliens or guilty bystanders in our own sanctuary.

“Unless lawyers do the right thing and reform from within, outside forces may well cause a revolution that will marginalize the legal profession.” Garner on Language and Writing (ABA, 2009), 295.

The fulfillment of this dire prophecy already looms, with artificial intelligence and legal-document automation invading our cherished temple. Hugging legalese or verbosity is a losing strategy and a suicide mission. It’s an unviable conspiracy against laypeople.

In George Bernard Shaw’s play, The Doctor’s Dilemma, a character, Sir Patrick, characterizes all professions as “conspiracies against the laity.” George Bernard Shaw, The Doctor’s Dilemma (1906, Project Gutenberg Ebook 2015), 20.

Let’s reject this characterization, if not for all professions, then at least for the noble profession of law. Professionals shouldn’t gang up against their clientele.

If attorneys gang up, clients will hang up.

Indeed, “the very idea of professionalism demands that we not conspire against nonlawyers by adopting a style that feels impenetrable.” Garner on Language and Writing, 295.

Rather than conspire, let’s communicate. Indeed, let’s go beyond communication. Let’s engage. “All writing is communication. But most writing hopes to go further. It hopes to make the reader react in certain ways—with pleased smiles, nods of assent, stabs of pathos, or whatever.” John R. Trimble, Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing, 3rd ed. (Prentice Hall, 2011), 5.

Chinua Asuzu, Uncommon Law of Learned Writing 2.0 (Partridge, 2023), 10–12


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and other digital content on this website, in whole or in part, without express and written permission from Legal Attorney Blog is strictly prohibited.

Exciting news! The Legal Attorney Blog is now on WhatsApp Channels. Subscribe today by clicking the link and staying updated with the latest legal news.

Related topics:

NBA Judiciary Ethics | Career Practice Public interest l Chinua|

You might also like:

Chinua Asuzu: Shaping Legal Discourse Through Profound Writings

Chinua Asuzu authored several books:

Click Button Below to Join Our Telegram Groups
WhatsApp Telegram

For Advert Inquiries & News/Article Publishing

Call:+2348033888791, +2347069999005

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.