Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on research and writing, practice, and technology.
Research & Writing
Go Gender Neutral
Strive for neutrality, or at least balance. As Richard Wydick suggests in his excellent Plain English for Lawyers, ‘many readers, both women and men, will be distracted and perhaps offended if you use masculine terms to refer to people who are not necessarily male.’ Wydick also notes that it’s equally distracting to use ‘clumsy efforts to avoid masculine terms’, or to use only feminine terms to redress imbalance (and the latter has a sort of law-school ring to it, which may not be what you’re aiming for). And we can safely leave the androgynous new coinages xe and hir to graduate students in gender studies. …
I have a confession to make. While I love technology, I am not quite sure the feelings are mutual. You see, technology has come to disappoint me so many times that I am questioning its intentions. In fact it causes me concern when thinking of the rise of artificial intelligence. You see, if technology at its current level of development can be so confounding, what lies in store when technology reaches some level of self-awareness? It could be that we would move from our present epoch of relatively benign technology and cross over to the world of self-aware machines, we move into the state of “Artificial Malevolence”. …