Brevity Is the Soul of Law

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Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet that “Brevity is the soul of wit,” and this observation holds true for legal persuasion as well. Brevity is — or at least should be — the soul of law.

Years ago I wrote what I thought was a very clever, if somewhat long, brief in a patent case. Patent briefs can be rather dull, so I fancied myself quite creative for opening mine with the refrain of a then-popular country tune, “What Kinda Gone.” I thought the lyrics made my key argument — that even ordinary terms in the patent at issue had many different meanings.

Originally published in the May 2013 edition of the California Lawyer.

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