Legal Writing Suggestions

Please call the parties by their names. Use real names, not titles. Avoid acronyms, unless they are commonly used, like IBM. If you use initials, only use the initials to identify one party. The reader can be confused by several parties identified by similar initials. Please, please, please do not use all caps.

Generic terms (Bad)              Actual Names (Good)
The plaintiff . . .             Bobby Jones . . .
The defendant . . .       Tom Smith . . .
The scene of the accident . . .        In the bank parking lot . . .

If the case is confidential, let the Court insert initials. The names are not to be kept confidential from the Court.

2 thoughts on “Legal Writing Suggestions

  1. “If the case is confidential, let the Court insert initials. The names are not to be kept confidential from the Court.” – – Does this mean that, in briefs dealing with minor victims, the party should refer to them by their names and not initials? If so, how does that square with maintaining confidentiality of the minor victim when the briefs are available to the public on the online docket?

    1. If the briefs are confidential, they should not be available to the public on the online docket.

      If there is something in the brief that the parties believe should not be exposed to the public, like a minor sex crime victim’s name, there should be a request for confidentiality that is ruled on by the court. This is an ongoing question for appellate judges, who determines confidentiality — the lawyers or the court?

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