Clearly not!

Many lawyers are in the bad habit of trying to bolster their sentences with self-promotional adverbs that comment on the argument made: clearly, undeniably, manifestly, obviously, and so on.

Adverbs that comment on your argument should be avoided. They do two things that no writer should want. First, they weaken, rather than strengthen, the sentence in which they appear. Nobody likes being told what they should think, which is exactly what self-promotional adverbs do. Read the sentences below, and note your own tendency to snarl “oh yeah?” when you encounter the promotional adverb. Then reread the sentence without the adverb and ask yourself whether it sounds more, or less, confident and persuasive.

These claims are patently false.

Clearly, RTX never would have entered into such a contract if it contained a clause so hostile to its interests.

The case law undeniably establishes that a property interest so acquired is extinguished by a properly-crafted quitclaim.

The second problem with promotional adverbs is that they are little hesitations, delaying the action of your sentence. The machinery works better without them.

When you turn a self-promotional adverb around, you get one that is designed to deprecate an opponent’s argument:

Incredibly, Jones maintains in his motion that he never saw the contract before June 4.

Given its long history on this issue, Defendant unsurprisingly continues to protest that the law of the case does not apply to it.

Now you are annoying the judge both by telling him or her what to think and by badmouthing your opponent. For every judge who enjoys incivility to opposing counsel there are at least forty-nine who hate it. Stop.

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