Legal Writing Suggestions

Carefully choose citations. The judge must decide which cases to read. Help with this decision. Tell the judge exactly which cases to read. The judge is not going to read seventy-five cases, and you should not expect him to.

If the law is “well settled,” use the version that either squarely meets the facts of your case, was written by the Supreme Court, or was most recent. You do not have to go back to Brown v. Credit Card Center on every summary judgment appeal.

Do not worry about not including “enough” citations. No points are awarded to the party who cites the most cases. The question to ask is whether this case adds something substantive to the brief.

2 thoughts on “Legal Writing Suggestions

  1. I hear you, but about 10 years ago I heard a speaking justice encourage attorneys to include the kitchen sink in their briefs. I suspect average word counts in briefs went up after that, at least for briefs filed by lawyers in the audience.

  2. I don’t mind the brief that includes the kitchen sink. There is a point though that it works against you. I see parties cite one case for the standard of review, then another three cases in the argument. If I could make one suggestion to attorneys is to decide what is your best case authority, then cite it for the standard of review and argue it. When I see that, I know what case I need to read to decide the appeal.

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