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Judge Mark Painter is continuing his campaign to get lawyers to write in plain English. The Legal Writer is Judge Painter’s new book, which tells lawyers that they are allowed to write plainly.
Since 1998, Judge Painter has given 22 legal writing seminars across Ohio, instructing lawyers and judges on how to make their words understandable—not only to other lawyers, but to the public.
"Cases are about people. Shouldn’t they be able to read what is happening to them?" Judge Painter asks in his seminars. In The Legal Writer, he expands on that theme, and offers 30 rules for lawyers to follow in changing their writing style.
For example, Rule 16 states "What is the most underused punctuation mark in legal writing? The period—it is that key down at the lower right of your keyboard. Even though you are a lawyer, you are allowed to use it."
The book tells lawyers and judges to write shorter sentences, shorter paragraphs, purge legal jargon, and write in plain language.
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Judge Mark Painter is a prolific writer—235 of his decisions have been published in the national law books—making him one of the most-published Ohio judges in history.
Besides The Legal Writer, he is the author of the legal text Ohio Driving Under the Influence Law, now in its 11th edition. He has written 39 articles for legal journals. Judge Painter’s opinions have been recognized as legal precedent more than 1000 times—in other cases, legal textbooks, and encyclopedias.
Judge Painter has served on the First District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati for seven years. Previously, Judge Painter served thirteen years on the Hamilton County Municipal Court. During that time, he was the most-published trial judge in Ohio.
In addition to his court duties, Judge Painter is a frequent lecturer, having taught more than 85 seminars for judges, lawyers, and police officers. Judge Painter has served for 12 years as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati, teaching agency and partnership law.
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