A cliché is a “trite or hackneyed phrase that has been repeated so often as to have become meaningless.” Such phrases often contain stale metaphors.
Here are a few examples of clichés that commonly appear in legal writing:
It is crystal clear that . . .
At first blush, . . .
It goes without saying that . . .
Defendant’s argument misses the mark.
add insult to injury
all things considered
at the end of the day
by the same token
distinction without a difference
fall on deaf ears
in whole or in part
it goes without saying
no uncertain terms
on all fours
one and the same
open and shut
play fast and loose
tried and true
When you are tempted to use a cliché, rethink what you want to say and consider whether there is a fresher way to make the same point.
 Garner, Garner’s Modern English Usage 995.
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Ryan McCarl is a partner at the law firm Rushing McCarl LLP and the author of the book-in-progress Elegant Legal Writing. He taught Advanced Legal Writing at the UCLA School of Law. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter as well as his personal blog.