Marc Randazza’s Entertaining—and Effective—Legal Writing
Marc Randazza is an uncompromising First Amendment lawyer who fights for pornographers, beats copyright trolls to a pulp, and even defends the occasional law practice blog threatened by a trademark bully. As a First Amendment lawyer, Marc Randazza takes words more seriously even than most lawyers, and that is probably why his legal writing is so remarkable.
It is also remarkable for its subject matter. For example, Randazza once wrote a brief about the history of penis imagery (PDF). Here is the meat of the outline:
II. Phallic imagery has been a constant form of expression since the dawn of man and thus [is] not shocking to the sense of decency and propriety.
1. The symbolism of the shaft.
2. Our phallic history.
3. Erecting the phallus.
4. The dome.
I mean, I would pay to read some of Marc Randazza’s legal writing. He doesn’t beat around the bush or hide behind legal jargon. His writing is in-your-face advocacy, done with respect for the tribunal but contempt for his opponents’ feeble arguments. If I’d known more about Marc’s writing back when I was teaching appellate advocacy, I would have given his glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com WIPO brief to my class to study. Here is my favorite quote, found under the heading “Why Are We Here?”
There is no indication that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to confuse anyone searching for Mr. Beck’s own website, nor that anyone was unintentionally confused—even initially. Only an abject imbecile could believe that the domain name would have any connection to [Glenn Beck].
We are not here because the domain name could cause confusion. We do not have a declaration from the president of the international association of imbeciles that his members are blankly staring at the Respondent’s website wondering “where did all the race baiting content go?
Two points: (1) Marc won, because he was right; and (2) this kind of writing—somehow—came off as completely appropriate. It was appropriate because, like most of the cases Marc gets publicity for, Beck’s WIPO dispute was completely ridiculous, brought to bully someone who could not afford a lawyer until Marc Randazza stepped in. It was as close as lawyers get to a frivolous lawsuit, and so it was entirely appropriate for Marc to call it one.
Marc practices fearless advocacy; he takes cases he believes in and then fights like hell for his clients. You can’t do that in every case, but Marc Randazza’s legal writing is an example of what you can do when you champion a just cause.
Here’s another one. When an in-over-his-head young lawyer, Joseph Rakofsky, sued, well, everyone, Marc stepped up to defend the internet:
Rakofsky set the wheels of his own reputation’s demise in motion by exercising poor judgment. The wheels gained momentum due to Rakofsky’s unwillingness to take responsibility for his actions. Rakofsky now lashes out at others for his errors and omissions, and as unfortunate as it is that this suit has been filed at all, it will be a constitutional travesty if this case survived a Motion to Dismiss.
If you want to learn how to write great legal briefs, spend some time with Marc Randazza’s work product. You can’t get that fired up all the time, but when a case really matters, this is how it’s done.