I’ve always admired Bryan Garner, the great crusader for clarity in legal writing. I’ve often recommended that people attend his seminars. Invariably, those to whom I made this recommendation returned to thank me profusely. Surprisingly, I had never attended any of his seminars.
Today, Mr. Garner was the opening speaker at the ABA Forum on Franchising in Austin, Texas. To say I had great expectations for the speech would be an understatement. Amazingly, he far exceeded my high expectations. He is not only a great instructor of writing, but also an amazing speaker—perhaps one of the top two or three speakers I’ve ever seen.
If you think you know a lot about legal writing, and you attend his seminar, you will find out that you don’t know quite as much as you thought. You’ll emerge from the speech, however, with concrete knowledge of how to improve. In fact, simply by attending the seminar you will have improved your writing—even if you don’t follow his simple prescriptions for improvement. He offered four tasks that would lead to better writing in six months. I was glad to know I’d inadvertently fulfilled the first task: subscribing to The Economist and The New Yorker.
If you ever get a chance to see him speak do whatever you can to make it happen. You won’t regret it. I promise!