Watch what you write

In a blog post on May 18, 2014, I commented upon the 69 words that GM’s lawyers told the engineers not to use. Pretty bog-standard stuff on watching what you write.

“Lawyers, Judges Modify View That Adverbs are Mostly Bad,” Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2014 A1.  Lawyers and their view on adverbs in statutes and legal opinions.  Are adverbs inherently ambiguous?

I gave hundreds of “Watch What You Write” presentations to business folks during my 30+ years of legal practice.  I cautioned people to watch out for adverbs, adjectives, and absolutes, as they are inherently imprecise.  And difficult to explain five years later in litigation.  I also suggested that people consider that the medium is part of the message, and gauge the permanence of the medium to the importance of the message.  Email lasts forever. Think of content + container.

Does your information governance program address controlling the actual words people use?  Should it?


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Filed under Business Case, Communications, Content, Controls, Definition, Discovery, Duty of Care, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Protect assets, Protect information assets, Risk

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