Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Write well, spell correctly, lawyer urges

Lawyers are often criticized for arcane and convoluted language. Not Andrew Berry (left), chairman of McCarter & English in Newark, N.J. He's interviewed in The Wall Street Journal Law Blog about the importance of clear writing and avoiding typographical errors. Says he:
“Do not ever for the second time give your senior (lawyer) a piece of writing with a typo or a grammatical mistake.”
Such errors, he says, derail the lawyer's stock in trade: A smooth train of thought.
In addition, Berry urges young lawyers to read Antonin Scalia's new book on advocacy, especially the parts about the importance of writing well.
The dynamics of today's communications (IM, email, Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, text-messaging) augur against this, but Berry and the rest of us can dream, can't we??

Monday, June 2, 2008

Word of the Day: Guerdon

n. A reward, recompense or requital. (As a verb, to reward).

The word has several Middle English derivations, all of which probably come from the Latin donum, or gift, according to Webster's Unabridged.
You're probably wondering why guerdon shouldn't have a more martial meaning, with similar words like guerilla. That's because those ME derivations include a variation of widar, to give back.
Guerdon is what Sameer Mishra (left) spelled to win the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington last Friday. For winning, his guerdon includes $35,000 and a $2,500 savings bond. Not bad for getting your letters right.


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