Why Word Choice Matters in Legal Printing

A persuasive argument is a key tool for a lawyer in court. It can be easy to forget the role that word choice plays in forming a strong argument, though. Often, lawyers rely on adjectives and adverbs to describe the events they’re writing about. Describing acts with modifiers, like adjectives or adverbs, means your word choices need modification. If your words need to be modified, you may be making the wrong choice in your words. Changing this may be easier than you think!

Take, for example, the following sentence:

The man struck the girl.

This sentence is simple. It contains no adjectives or adverbs, but it paints a powerful picture. The reader sees a man, who is larger and more powerful than the girl, inflicting violence. The girl is presented as a victim of this violence. It is easy for the audience to sympathize with the girl. This was accomplished without describing anything beyond the action taken. Now, look at the second example.

The officer subdued the protester.

In this example, people would be more likely to side with the officer, who has an official status and moral authority in many minds. The protester, is seen as a troublemaker. The officer’s decision to subdue the protester is presented as a neutral, appropriate response to the protester’s actions, whatever they might have been. With a single sentence, the attorney can sway the sympathy of an entire court, provided they choose their words well.

What is most important to remember is the above examples are describing the same scenario. A male officer using force to subdue a female protester can be told either way, spinning the story in favor of either party. A simple change in word choice can be enough to change a judicial reader’s mind.

Shifting your storytelling away from ornate language may seem difficult, but it is a worthwhile habit to cultivate. Your words should show your audience the story, not tell them. A well-written brief is a powerful tool in a lawyer’s arsenal, and is as easy to achieve as changing a few simple words.

You’ve written your brief and prepared for your case. Acro Photo Print Inc. offers New York City printing services for all your large-scale legal printing. Call (929) 244-4322 to learn how we can help you.