Category Archives: Legal Writing

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Scalia & Garner: Brevity

The power of brevity is not to be underestimated. A recent study confirms what we all know from our own experience: people tend not to start reading what they cannot readily finish. “Making Your Case”, p. 25 In other words, keep it simple, stupid.

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Scalia & Garner: Moderation in the pursuit of justice

In 1964 Barry Goldwater famously proclaimed that “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice … and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” Perhaps Goldwater was right. But when advocating on behalf of a client, perhaps not: Select the most easily defensible position that favors your client. Don’t assume more of…

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Scalia & Garner: Never say never

So I’ve finally gotten around to reading “Making Your Case”, Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner’s book on effective advocacy. There’s a lot of really good stuff in the book (which I highly recommend), and it occurred to me that some f the better bits were worth sharing here, so I’ve decided to try and…

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On the Importance of Punctuation

Courtesy of The Appellate Record:

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Good Legal Research/Writing Advice from Eugene Volokh

UCLA Professor Eugene Volokh recently provided some excellent advice that I highly advise following when citing to legal treatises that have been through multiple editions, and that have had different editors over the years: I ran across this passage (in a generally very well-done brief), which inadvertently highlights an issue that legal writers — students,…

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More Scaliapalooza

Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner gave an interview recently to the ABA Journal in which they discuss their new book, “Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges,” and advocacy, both written and oral. You can view the full transcript of the interview on the ABA Journal’s website via this link. Regardless of whether you…

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More Legal Writing Advice (sort of) from Judge Posner

Courtesy of Howard Bashman at How Appealing, the most recent issue of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Bar Association’s journal, “Circuit Rider” is available at this link. The issue contains a very interesting piece on legal writing in which the author urges brief writers (and others) to adopt what Judges Posner and Easterbrook –…

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Advice From Judge Posner On Legal Writing

In a recent opinion, Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner, who some describe as perhaps the greatest living appellate judge (a claim with which I would not necessarily disagree), offered some useful advice on the subject of brief writing. Specifically, he addressed the dense legalese that littered the briefs that had been submitted in a complex…

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