An example of grace and wit

Good writing is central to good lawyering.  One way to improve one’s writing is to read good writing of all kinds.  In my view, too much of legal writing is hyperbolic, sarcastic and argumentative.  There is room for using grace and wit t to capture the reader’s attention.  An example  is Christopher Buckley’s piece “Remembering (but not channeling) WFB”in the Yale Alumni Magazine Jan/Feb 2012.  The occasion was Yale’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of God and Man at Yale.  Buckley was not making an argument.  His peice is not legal writing.  But, using grace and wit, Buckley draws the reader in, keeps the reader’s interest and leaves the reader feeling better off for having read his piece.  How often does legal writing have such an effect on Judges?  My guess is not often.  Judges of course have an even greater obligation to write well because (a) when Judges write they excercise power, (b) their opinions are part of the public record and (c) the quality of judical writing, regardless of the judge’s conclusion, contribute to the impression readers, be they lawyers, litigants, the press, academics or members of the public, have of the judicial process.  Those impressoins matter because the foundation of the legal system in this country is consent.  Respect fosters consent.  Perhaps it would be worthwhile to consider opportunities to use wit and grace in legal writing.