June 20, 2013

A Federal Judge: Top ten legal writing hints when the audience is a cranky federal trial judge

6-20-2013 National:

Here is how the Honorable Judge begins:

I have been asked to post something about legal writing. I don’t know a damn thing about legal writing, as this blog constantly proves.  But, hey, ask and you shall receive.
A word about the literary form:  I prefer the “top-ten” form for trenchant legal analysis.
Awhile back A while back (I have no clue which one is correct), and using this form, I wrote a piece about their Eminences and the mess they made of the federal Sentencing Guidelines.  In some circles, it was well-received.  Therefore, and proving that you can’t teach an old judge new tricks (or shticks), I once again adopt the genre for this series of profound musings.
So, here are my top ten hints for submitting briefs to me and other all-knowing beings who ascend the federal trial bench, both literally and figuratively:
  10. Get a good editor.  Never send me something unless someone less dumb than you has read it first.  Jan, one of my brilliant career law clerks, is editing this piece.  Sometimes she annoys me though.  Just now, I really wanted to use the word “retarded” rather than “dumb.”  Jan said she’d quit if I did, so I relented.  I can’t stand the thought of doing my own work.

Now click to read the rest, you will be laughing, promise.

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