Writing Seminar

On Friday, I had the privilege of sitting in on a Judicial Law Clerk Writing Seminar.  The seminar was sponsored by the Bench and Bar Liaison Committee of the Mississippi Bar, of which I am a member.  I played a small role in organizing the seminar.  The speakers were excellent; they included Judges Dan Jordan, Leslie Southwick, Keith Ball, Ed Patten, Mike Taylor, Andy Howorth, and Jerry Mason.  Roy Campbell offered the lawyer’s perspective.  I thought this was an allstar cast.

The statement that got my attention was from Circuit Judge Mike Taylor: “Why is it that the appellate court will accept the ultimate decision of twelve random strangers, without criticism, and yet require a “learned” and trained judge to write a detailed opinion that explains his or her decision?  Then, the appellate judges will reverse and remand the “learned” judge’s opinion because of one short phrase in a forty page opinion.”

Then, all the judges looked at me.  Oh well.

3 thoughts on “Writing Seminar

  1. I take it that Judge Taylor’s comment was in good humor, and not displaying a confusion about the difference between findings of fact (non-learned) and conclusions of law (learned).

  2. Thank you for organizing this seminar. I was able to attend the first part of the seminar from 8:30 until 1:00 and I found the information very useful. Judge Jordan’s comments about integrating key facts into the legal analysis section of an opinion were thought-provoking.

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