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November 29, 2005



Love it. I've always wanted see, though, a Top 10 list of advice for appellate JUDGES. Wisdom along the lines of, "Write your opinions yourself -- or at least proofread what your neophyte law clerk wrote for you." Or, "Always pretend that you are listening to the lawyers, even when you are thinking about what you'll be having for lunch."

Mr Name

A lot of them do ring hollow, but #1 and #2 cannot be emphasized enough. Lawyers do a bad job of making themselves clear.

Maybe too many lawyers follow the format of most appellate opinions, with unnecessary background legal principles and unnecessary facts.

Long, boring writing makes the reader fog over. They will put your brief down and pick up something else to work on.



People should be snappy and insert cute “zingers” into appellate briefs. We could hire a bunch of ad agency types.

All of these points have been given by some judges and some members of bar in one form or another. They are worthless, because being an advocate is much more than just writing simple sentences, but, actually trying to massage an argument and a set of facts (usually bad facts) into precedent or a judge’s political views.

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