A bit on formality
Dear legal-writing teachers:
Please stop telling us we shouldn't use dashes in legal writing. We can. Many lawyers do. It is an effective and useful punctuation mark when used in moderation.
Please stop telling us we can't use contractions in legal writing. We can. More of us should. Perhaps you tell us not to use contractions because that's an easy rule to teach and to follow. But writing is complicated. Most rules aren't that absolute. The better rule here is not "no contractions." The better rule is "Be wise in using contractions; perfect your ear and use contractions where they will improve the flow of your text and speed up reading."
Please stop telling us we can't use the first and second person. Again, the better rule does not prohibit them but suggests we must be careful in using them; overuse sounds juvenile. But writing around the first and second person often leads to a stilted, stiff tone--a tone that is not very readable.
I could go on. But in short, stop enforcing excessive formality. Stop telling us that legal writing is formal. That's just another way of saying legal writers are trying to sound important. We should not try to sound important. We should write so our text is as clear to our readers as it can be. And sometimes that means using dashes, contractions, and the first and second person.