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Thursday, May 19, 2011

SCOTUS Justices on legal writing--A few tips, and proof that you can't please everyone.

By Kirsten E. Small

Courtesy of The Blog of Legal Times comes news that legal writing guru Bryan Garner has release the full transcripts of his 2008 interviews with various Supreme Court Justices. The BLT's article is here, and the transcripts are available through the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing (an excellent resource, by the way).

Before hightailing it over to the Scribes site to download and read the transcripts until my nerdy little heart is content, a couple of highlights from the BLT article: short briefs are better than long, avoid legalese (and the improper use of "which"), and cite the record and cases honestly. Justices Thomas and Alito think the summary of argument is important; Justice Scalia thinks its a waste of space.

Finally, be advised that Justice Kennedy does not like it when lawyers verb words.

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