Write Better Legal Documents with an Editing Checklist
Your first draft is never perfect. Better your writing and arguments with an editorial checklist.
Three Grammar Rules to Forget (Because They’re Wrong)
Remember those grammar rules you learned back in grade school? It's time to forget them.
Do NOT Let Your Client Write Your Petition for a Writ of Certiorari
"Shipley basically let his client write his brief, and the thing turned into an utter shitshow. Witness the nightmare hellscape that is the question presented in this case …"
5 Fonts Courts Use Besides Times New Roman
"Here are some good (and not so good) alternatives to Times New Roman (TNR) we’ve seen in court opinions."
How to Use a Colon
From Columbia Journalism Review: Just as colon the organ, um, moves things along, so does colon the punctuation mark. It signals to a reader that what follows is a list, an elaboration or definition, or something else that continues the thought. It says that what follows is so closely related to the first part of […]
Making It Sing: How Rhetorical Writing Techniques Can Improve Legal Writing
Legal writing does not need to resemble a cross between a nineteenth century sermon and a treatise on higher mathematics.
The Enigmatic Em Dash
Don't fear the em dash—it can add energy and much needed variety to your prose.
How to Cite Walter Sobchak on Prior Restraint
First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza has found a gem: an opinion from the Texas Supreme Court quoting Walter Sobchak in “The Big Lebowski” on prior restraint.
How to Cite Buzz Lightyear in a Legal Brief
"I suppose you might also be wondering, 'In what situation might I feel compelled to cite an animated action figure as an authority in one of my briefs?'"
Lawyers Fight Bravely to Save the Endangered Adverb
Lawyers, aided by legislative champions of the downtrodden in many states and the United States Congress, have come to the rescue of the much-maligned adverb.
How to Hyperlink in Federal Court Filings
federalcourthyperlinking.org is “A compendium of resources for attorneys interested in adding hyperlinks to their CM/ECF filings.”
The CIA’s Bestiary of Intelligence Writing is Really Weird
Fed up with the incessant repetition of buzzwords like viable analysis, multidisciplinary analysis, and nonstarter in CIA publications, two agency writers put together the Bestiary of Intelligence Writing.
Does anyone know if Bryan Garner can draw?
BP Lawyers Stretch the Meaning of “Double-Spaced”
"Counsel’s tactic would not be appropriate for a college term paper. It certainly is not appropriate here."
How to Write More Effective Opening Paragraphs
"By replacing formulaic openers with forceful arguments," says Burlingame, "lawyers can capture the judge's attention, enhance their credibility, and show from the outset why their clients should win."
How to Lose Your Case
I didn’t realize that attorneys would prefer to lose, not win, their case. But if your goal is losing, this article is for you. Be sure to incorporate these ideas from my law clerk friends into your motions and briefs — if you want to lose your case.