Using names in motions and briefs instead of litigation labels

The Legal Writing Prof Blog cites an article in the ABA Journal from Bryan Garner re: using names in briefs and motions instead of litigation labels (plaintiff, defendant, etc.). I can’t remember the last time I used legal labels when referring to a single party. I find using names makes the narrative flow well. Meanwhile, litigation labels tend to distract and alternatively bore the reader.  Now, I might use a litigation label when I refer to multiple parties. For example, I may refer to unrelated Plaintiffs A and B may be the “Plaintiffs.” Otherwise, I use names whenever I can.

Similarly, I avoid acronyms unless (a) I expect the reader to recognize the acronym and use it in normal speech and (b) I find there isn’t another effective way to shorten a long name. I’ll use NAACP or NCAA, for example, because people use those acronyms in common speech. But I will not shorten American Widget Corporation, Inc. to AWC; rather, I will use American Widget. I don’t want to ask readers to decipher an alphabet soup to understand my motion.

What do you prefer–names or labels?

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