Legal writing is all about groupings — sets and subsets, and categories. These are the building blocks of logic. Accurate sets and subsets (accurate categories) increase the efficiency with which information is delivered, and the process of shaping sets and subsets forces a writer to confirm that the message is on point. Regrettably, the kind of precise grouping that typically takes place late in the editing process (e.g., rearranging items in sentences and short paragraphs) is sometimes skipped in the rush to get product out the door.

A principal cause of weak grouping is the tendency to put undue faith in the first or second rubric we choose for a set (i.e., the name we choose for a category). After all, we figure, if the thought came to us naturally, how could it be wrong? Life would be intolerable if we had to rethink all our thoughts.

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