It’s time for us to move from discussing to doing.
We’ve already discussed many aspects of ESL written Legal English on this blog, and we’ll discuss many more in the months to come. But now we need to start doing what needs to be done to improve the actual writing in English on legal topics written by ESL attorneys in your firm.
Here’s how I propose to make that change:
The first twelve qualifying law firms to send qualifying responses to this post can see for themselves how I would edit their firms’ ESL written Legal English. If your firm is one of those twelve firms, you’ll also be able to read my evaluation of the Legal English written by your firm’s ESL attorneys.
For those first twelve qualifying firms who submit qualifying samples of ESL written Legal English, my editing and evaluation services for this offer will be FREE. Your firm will owe no money to Waggoner Legal English, LLC for any service included in this offer.
In exchange, I ask only that the terms and conditions spelled out in the rest of this post govern this offer.
Your firm and the writing sample you submit
Your firm must submit one of the first twelve writing samples that comply with this offer. This offer has no deadline; the offer will remain open until twelve firms take advantage of it.
The writing sample you submit must meet these physical criteria:
- It is no longer than five double-spaced pages. A “page” may be either the 8½-x-11-inch size used in the United States or the A4 page-size used in most other countries (though I do prefer 8½ x 11).
- It is a representative sample of the ESL Legal English written by ESL attorneys in your firm, and no English-mother-tongue editor has edited the sample. Your goal should not be to “impress me with your best.” Instead, the goal should be to help me help you identify ways to improve the ESL Legal English typically written by ESL attorneys in your firm.
- It fits one of the general categories of “legal documents” listed on the Services and Fees page of this site (with a pleading, legal memorandum, opinion letter, instrument, or section of academic writing on law being the likeliest prospects).
- It is saved in Microsoft Word or OpenOffice, and it is sent to me via electronic mail at the “dialogue” email address shown at the bottom of this post.
The writing sample will be the only sample your firm will ever submit in response to this offer. In other words, your firm can take advantage of this unusual offer only once.
Your firm must have at least five ESL attorneys. They need not work in the same office. They must, however, all work for your firm.
Your firm must have a website. A site of your own will enable me to confirm your stated information before I decide whether to accept your firm’s writing sample.
My editing, evaluation, and peace of mind
If your firm submits a qualifying sample of ESL written Legal English in response to this offer, the following terms will apply:
I will edit the sample, suggesting changes and making comments right in the digital file. I’ll return the edited sample to you as soon as possible. As used here, “editing” refers to the linguistic services described on the Services and Fees page of this site.
When I return your edited writing sample to you, I also will send you a written evaluation of the written Legal English in your firm’s writing sample. My evaluation will identify what I see as the strengths and weaknesses of the written Legal English in the writing sample. The evaluation will discuss the weaknesses, in appropriate detail, and probably suggest ways to overcome them.
My written evaluation also will include an estimate of what I would have billed your firm to edit your writing sample at Waggoner Legal English, LLC’s standard hourly fee for legal editing of US $75.00.
For up to one hour, I also will join you (and maybe others at your firm, too) for a telephone call or videoconference for further discussion of my suggested edits and my evaluation of your firm’s writing sample. If time permits, we can discuss your firm’s specific needs for editing and instruction even further, in person, if I travel to your jurisdiction to hold a continuing-legal-education seminar like the one described in my post on persuasion, editing Legal English, and a CLE seminar near you.
By submitting a qualifying writing sample in response to this offer, you and your firm agree that the laws of the American State of Indiana will govern this offer; you and your firm also agree that any dispute arising from or related to this specific offer will be litigated in an appropriate court in the United States in the venue that is nearest to my domicile when the claims are filed. I can’t imagine how any real dispute can arise from my offer to provide free, one-time, professional services by editing and evaluating a small sample of your firm’s ESL written Legal English. To account for the possibility that a dispute might arise, however, I need this assurance, which resembles Paragraph No. 14 of the sample contract for editing services found elsewhere on this site.
How we’ll handle updates for this offer
We’ll use the “comments” section at the end of this post to make any necessary additions to or clarifications of these terms. Using the comments this way will ensure that everyone has access to the same information at the same time.
I’ll post a comment in the “comments” section when twelve firms have submitted qualifying samples of ESL written Legal English in response to this offer.