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How to Paraphrase Legal Writing

Updated Sep 20, 2021

How to Paraphrase Legal Writing

By Matthew

The secret to achieving clarity in legal writing is through effective paraphrasing. Although it is easy to get lost in jargon, doing so only loses your audience and will possibly create more problems down the line as ambiguities emerge. There are two main principles to follow when paraphrasing legal writing: clarity and simplicity.

Example 1:

Original: In accordance with his authority as a local manager, the plaintiff has entered into a general agency contract to appoint a general agent to apply for life insurance and seek Stokes membership.

Paraphrased: As a local manager, the plaintiff appointed a general agent to apply for life insurance and become a member of Stokes.

Note that the original is hard to follow, with many agents in the sentence, and only one of them doing or receiving any action. The paraphrased version, however, is clear and simple, enabling the reader to easily follow along.

You can also paraphrase legal writing that is already good, if you want to achieve a particular tone or emphasis. Consider the following example from a McAllen lawyer.

Example 2:

Original: The success in handling cases for clients depends primarily on his perseverance in court and out of court, as well as teamwork between the attorney and client.

Paraphrased: The success in handling cases for clients depends on the lawyer's perseverance out of court and in court and teamwork between the lawyer and client.

Here we see that adding "lawyer's" to the sentence helps clarify the agency issues. For all your legal paraphrasing needs, be sure to check out our legal writing paraphrase tool.

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