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Throat Clearing PhrasesNew law students often find themselves writing long, introductory phrases at the beginning of a sentence, as if legal writing required wordiness or a false sense of importance. These unnecessary phrases often are called "throat-clearing phrases." Edit them out of your work. Remember that clarity and conciseness are the two most important goals of legal writing, and that throat-clearing phrases contribute to neither of these goals. Instead of getting the reader to the point, they delay the reader's arrival and hide the message.
Undesirable:It is important to remember that in our legal system the jury must convict only upon evidence that proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Better: The jury must convict only upon evidence that proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Undesirable:The Petitioner contends in this Court that Respondent's actions violate the First Amendment.Better: The Respondent's actions violate the First Amendment.
Undesirable:A key aspect of this case, which must not be overlooked, is that the plaintiff is not a member of the class intended to be protected by this statute.Better: The plaintiff is not a member of the class intended to be protected by this statute.
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