Attorney wordiness has a long history based on fact. Scriveners, predecessors to what attorneys are today, were paid by the word. They would sometimes make up words to pad their pay, and we call those unnecessary additions “legalese” today.
While it may seem unnecessary to have so many words in legal documents, often longer words and more words are necessary to properly protect people.
The reputation for attorneys using long words and unnecessary words is based on historical facts. In the days of monarchies when kings and queens were the deciders of everything in their respective kingdoms, few people could read and write.
The people who could write would be hired to write out the concerns or disputes of non-writing people to be sent to the king or queen of the kingdom. Other people were familiar with kings and queens and knew the “King’s English” (the language the king or queen understood and expected) and could personally present to the royalty the concerns and questions of commoners.
Read more about the history of legalese and how sometimes long and more words are necessary in legal documents here: Legal-Ease: Some attorney wordiness is good
Source: LimaOhio.com, “Legal-Ease: Some attorney wordiness is good,” by Lee R. Schroeder, November 10, 2018
Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.