Oregon State Bar Bulletin — DECEMBER 2006

Letters

A Good Start
Memorializing deceased attorney Michael Muñiz in the DECEMBER 2006 issue, the Bulletin says that Mr. Muñiz’s friends "recall his humble beginnings as an immigration lawyer with Oregon Legal Aid."

I have practiced law with Lane County Legal Aid for 22 years and am one of the more junior members of the firm. The attorneys in my office are proud to be measured against any lawyer in the state.

Timothy P. Baxter
Eugene

However...
Ms. Rowe’s otherwise enjoyable and valuable article on grammar ("Six to Nix," DECEMBER 2006) states "some curmudgeons believe that no sentence should begin with the word ‘however,’" and concludes, "Uniformly avoiding sentences that begin with ‘however’ prevents perfectly normal construction, as in the following example: ‘However the junior attorney prepared, he was … ’."

This both misstates the rule and ignores its benefits. The real rule followed by us curmudgeons is, as Strunk & White explain, "Avoid starting a sentence with however when the meaning is ‘nevertheless.’ The word usually serves better when not in first position.… When however comes first, it means ‘in whatever way’ or ‘to whatever extent.’"

This properly stated rule does not prohibit Ms. Rowe’s example of a "perfectly normal construction." But it does achieve two goals. First, it avoids confusion in meaning between "in whatever way" or "to whatever extent" and "nevertheless." Second, and more important to us curmudgeons in the legal field, it avoids the hackneyed formula so commonly used by law students and first-year lawyers: "Plaintiff argues x. However, y."

William C. Rooklidge
Irvine, Calif.


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