§ 18. Don't habitually use parenthetical shorthand names. Use them only when you really need them.
Rewrite the following paragraph to eliminate the shorthand names:
The statement of the procedural history of this matter, as stated in the Appellant's brief, is essentially correct. The claimant, Keith W. Hillman (hereinafter "Hillman"), filed his claim for benefits from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund, Va. Code §§ 19.2-368.1 et seq., on July 27, 2000. His claim was denied by the Director of the Division of Crime Victims' Compensation (hereinafter "the Director") on August 27, 2000 because his conduct contributed to the infliction of his injury and because he had failed to cooperate with law enforcement. On December 20, 2000, Hillman requested a review of the denial of benefits. On April 8, 2001, Hillman was given an opportunity for an evidentiary hearing before a deputy commissioner pursuant to Administrative Bulletin No. 25, attached hereto as Addendum A (hereinafter "Add. A").
IntermediateFind a judicial opinion in which the parties are methodically defined at the outset. If you're part of a writing group or class, bring a copy of the first two pages. Be prepared to discuss whether you think the definitions serve any real purpose.
Find a legal document in which the introduction of shorthand names seems pedantic--or, worse still, absurd. Decide how you would deal with the issue if you were the writer. If you belong to a writing group or class, be prepared to discuss your findings and your proposed solutions.
© 2001, Bryan A. Garner
These exercises appear in Bryan A. Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises, published by The University of Chicago Press and available at bookstores and on the Web at www.press.uchicago.edu.