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His Her in Legal Documents

Conversations about gender and gender neutrality are becoming more common. Thomson Reuters reported that last year (2018), the number of customers requesting gender-neutral documents increased. Startups are at the forefront of industry change and disruption, so it makes sense that they`re ahead of the trend. An inexperienced paralegal will interrupt his lawyer several times with minor questions. For example, let`s say you write a letter outlining the facts of a case that you want the court to follow. Following the advice of legal experts, avoid referring to parties only as “plaintiff” and “defendant” and provide their full names. However, for the second or third reference, you want to refer to them by their personal pronouns, but note that the gender of one party is not revealed in the text. Or say you don`t even know the name of the specific person, let alone the person`s preferred pronoun or gender identity, and you`re not able to ask or know. If a paralegal becomes aware that a client is copying content without permission, they should bring this information to the attention of their supervising lawyer. The legal sector is called upon to adapt quickly to the social norms of the recognition of personal pronouns. Denise Visconti, a shareholder at large law firm Holland & Knight, explained the basis for this in a January 2020 article, stating, “I think anyone who is an employer should think about this. There are quite a few people who don`t identify as men or women, they identify in a non-binary way, and as employers of these people, we need to make sure that people feel respected, welcomed and included.

That year, Merriam-Webster added 640 new words to her dictionary and clarified the meaning of even more. For example, “gig economy” is now an official entry and the definition of “snowflake” now includes its use as pejorative (for someone who is hypersensitive). Language changes. One change that currently unnecessarily confuses some legal authors is the use of pronouns for transgender people. Kati maintains an active pro bono practice advising clients on asylum, immigration and bankruptcy issues. It also provides legal assistance. Part of contract design is the use of precise language. While social acceptance of the use of the singular “they” is increasing, one court has not ruled on its interpretation in contracts. Probably, there will be a precedent in Delaware interpreting such usage to accept the use of the singular “they”.

While this example sounds good to most people in informal speech, it would likely raise a row of eyebrows in an official legal document. I will always mark it incorrectly on student papers, but I suspect I won`t be doing it in 10 years. Until then, using the other suggestions to avoid gendered pronouns is the safest approach. In summary, you like to use it in legal writing as a singular and neutral pronoun when referring to a person in the general sense, or when referring to indefinite pronouns like anyone, someone, or everyone. However, if you don`t know a particular person`s gender identity or preferred pronoun, avoid using one of the singular personal pronouns (and cumbersome combined terms) to refer to the person and find an appropriate way to write around the problem. If it seems unappealing or uncomfortable to incorporate into your life and legal practice, the most important thing to note and absorb is that it is at least mandatory to respect your client`s pronouns. When they specifically vocalize a series of pronouns they use, it`s incredibly disrespectful to refer to it in any other way. While it may seem difficult at first, not adapting to it will undoubtedly negatively impact your legal practice by crowding out clients. Respect, as in all things, is essential to the exercise of the law. [5] How can clients trust a lawyer to represent them if they do not feel respected by them? Grammar is important in legal writing.

We have all heard of cases where complaints have been lost for lack of a comma. Lawyers can and should argue for proper grammar. However, with a little thought, the author can often end up with a result they feel comfortable with. And no, don`t let me start by ending an informal sentence with a preposition. Or start with a conjunction. [3] blogs.findlaw.com/strategist/2019/08/the-fun-and-easy-way-to-use-gender-pronouns-in-legal-writing.html Consider using gender-neutral language or avoiding proprietary language when drafting corporate or legal documents. An easy way to incorporate this would be to “respect gender inclusion when writing about professions or societal roles: flight attendant, businessman, president, waiter, police officer, jury chairman, congressman, layman.” [4] In legal and other formal writings, if you do not know the gender identity of a particular human individual and are unable to ask, it is best to use one of the singular personal pronouns to refer to the person. One change we all need to make right away is to remove gendered pronouns from our writing.

Gone are the days when the use of “he” or “he” was the appropriate standard pronoun. Legal writing should not only avoid legal German, it should also be inclusive. “Men” is not synonymous with “person,” nor does “he” mean “she.” It is important that the wording of the contract is not only precise, but also accurate. Many agreements regulate several people, whose sex is partly unclear or variable. This article gives you tips and guidance on how to make contract language gender-neutral. As society moves towards gender equality, so should legal contracts. (This use will rub on some ears. In fact, there are discussions in the legal writing community about whether they, ze, or xe should be used as an appropriate gender-neutral pronoun; But that`s not the subject of this article.

Be sure to consider early resistance to gender-neutral language and the position of marginalized groups.) While it takes thought and effort to make these changes, paralegals must keep up with the evolution of language and writing, especially legal writing. This is not only important to the people we write about, but often has far-reaching implications. The next step towards a more inclusive area of law is conscious design. When creating documents for clients, ask what personal pronouns they use and how they would like to be addressed. When in doubt, the singular use of “they” is often a good choice, along with “The Associated Press,” as well as several other news organizations such as the Washington Post. [adopts] the plural pronoun “they” to fulfill the role of a neuter singular pronoun.” [3] (And yes – it`s grammatically correct. Remember, “You won`t stop upsetting me!”) Writers should refer to everyone by their preferred pronoun. For example, in 2016, Gloucester County School Board solicitor CGG. used the pronoun he to refer to a transgender man in a question about boys` right to use the toilet.

In a footnote, the lawyer wrote that the use of masculine pronouns “concedes nothing in the legal question” of gender within the meaning of Title IX. The case was eventually dismissed due to President Trump`s change in policy, but lawyer Kyle Duncan now sits on the 5th Court of Appeals. When solving legal problems, a respectful attitude never harms your position. Nearly 50 years later, many legal writers are still grappling with elegant ways to refine our language`s singular gendered pronouns. Avoiding heavy constructions, creating clarity and recognizing the presence of female people is not difficult. The following list of suggestions should arm you for any situation (although the last one carries its own controversy). In addition to removing gender-specific pronouns from legal documents, paralegals should strive to remove gender-specific pronouns and other gender-specific terms from speech and other types of writing. Many companies, including law firms, encourage their employees to include their preferred pronouns in their electronic signature and update HR documents with neutral language. The terms “spouse” and “partner” are preferred by many to “husband” and “wife,” even those who otherwise use gendered pronouns. There are also many gender-specific terms used in the workplace that should be replaced with neutral terms such as “hours of work” instead of “hours of work” and “staff” instead of “staff”. If you are planning an event, ask registrants for their preferred pronouns and add this information to each registrant`s name tag.