The University of Chicago Press,
Exercises from LEGAL WRITING IN PLAIN ENGLISH, Bryan A. Garner

§ 31. Draft for an ordinary reader, not for a mythical judge who might someday review the document.



Revise the following sentences so that they aren't so obviously directed to the judicial interpreter:

  • Nothing expressed or implied in this Agreement is intended or shall be construed to give to any person or entity, other than the parties and the Buyer's permitted assignees, any rights or remedies under or by reason of this Agreement.
  • The Corporation and the Executive explicitly agree that this Agreement has been negotiated by each at arm's length and that legal counsel for both parties have had a full and fair opportunity to review the Agreement so that any court will fully enforce it as written.
  • The employee explicitly acknowledges and agrees that the agreement not to compete, set forth above, is ancillary to an otherwise enforceable agreement and is supported by independent, valuable consideration as required by Texas Business and Commerce Code § 15.50. The employee further agrees that the limitations as to time, geographical area, and scope of activity to be restrained are reasonable and do not impose any greater restraint than is reasonably necessary to protect the goodwill and other business interests of the employer.


In a formbook, identify a legal document that no one apart from an expert would likely understand. If you're part of a writing group or class, be prepared to discuss (1) the extent to which people other than experts might need to be able to understand the document, and (2) at least three characteristics of the document that make it particularly difficult.


Revise one or two provisions (about 200 words total) from the document you identified for the Intermediate exercise. Produce before-and-after versions. If you're part of a writing group or class, bring a copy for each colleague.

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© 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