Sean Flammer, Esq., of Scott, Douglass & McConnico L.L.P has published Persuading Judges: An Empirical Analysis of Writing Style, Persuasion, and the Use of Plain English, 16 Legal Writing: Journal of the Legal Writing Institute 183-221 (2010) (Issue No. 1). Here is a summary:
In recent decades, academics and some judges have urged the legal community to write in Plain English.
But dooes Plain English work? Does it help litigators persuade judges?
This Article attempts to answer that question. I sent surveys and writing samples to 800 judges across the country asking which of the samples was most persuasive. The survey also asked about the judges‘ gender, age, years of experience in law, years on the bench, and whether the judges sat in rural or urban districts.
Part I of this Article discusses what Plain English is and what it is not. Part II discusses the existing empirical data relating to Plain English. Part III discusses the methodology of the survey, and Part IV discusses the survey‘s results. Finally, Part V concludes and addresses how this study should influence future writing-style decision-making. [footnotes omitted]
Tags: Empirical methods in legal communication studies, Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, Legal argument, Legal communication, Legal plain language, Legal rhetoric, Legal writing, Plain language and law, Plain language in litigation papers, Sean Flammer, Survey methods in legal communication studies