You know what’s embarassing? When a judge takes the time to respond to your motion for a longer brief with by editing part of your brief (pdf) and referring you to The Elements of Legal Style.

A review of the proposed, twenty-nine-page motion’s commencement confirms that a modicum of informed editorial revision easily reduces the motion to twenty-five pages without a reduction in substance.

Oh, snap.

Read “A federal judge demonstrates the value of editing” on Legal Writing Prof Blog (via The Legal Writing Editor).


  1. They are called “briefs” after all. If only more judges would at least take the time to read and comment like this, we’d all have less to read.

  2. Daphne Macklin says:

    There is writing and there is writing well. It takes practice and discipline and as the judge indicated a certain sense of humor. Maybe I should become a freelance editorial consultant as there seems to be a growing need for lawyers who know how, to well, write.

  3. Terry.A says:

    I don’t think in all my time as a lawyer so far, I have come across such an occurrence in England UK. Lawyers are though criticised for sometimes being paper-heavy but that sort of comes with the job.

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