Jargon watch – Enclosed herewith

Please stop talking like your lawyer-grandparents. It’s not scholarly, it’s not professional, and it doesn’t impress anyone except non-lawyers. If that’s how you boost your self esteem, you’re in the wrong business.

For example take the antiquity, “please find enclosed herewith.” Yes, I still see this all the time — even in email messages from recent law school graduates.
What are you trying to say? “Please start digging through this mound of stuff and maybe, in here, with it, you will find something I’m sending you.” Of course not. All you’re trying to say is “I have enclosed X.” If that’s what you mean, say it. “Dear Rantor, I have enclosed the drafts I described this morning.”

Or how about “inter alia“, “supra” and “assuming arguendo.” Perhaps these gems have a place in formal legal briefs (I have my doubts), but they have no place in routine communications. What’s wrong with “among other things”, “above”, and “assuming for argument’s sake”?

If you want to keep your clients on your side, write using words they will understand — not the secret code of lawyer lingo. I’m not starting the “plain English vs precision” debate; we can do that another time. I am suggesting, however, that we drop the lawyerly affectations and write simply and clearly. Your clients might even read your letters for a change.

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