Legal Writing

News & Analysis as of

String Citations

String cites are almost universally condemned. Judges at all levels criticize string cites. Minority and dissenting judges criticize majorities that use string cites, and vice versa but to a lesser extent. Attorneys criticize...more

Top Ten Issues when Drafting International Agreements – Part I

Cross-border agreements come in all shapes and sizes, from manufacturing agreements to joint ventures, employment contracts to merger agreements. Each type has its own quirks, but we can boil down the most common legal issues...more

Inventors Take Note: Supreme Court to Decide How Ambiguous is Too Ambiguous for Patents

In a case argued in April, Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments, the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to decide the question “how ambiguous can a patent claim be before it is invalid?” Regardless of the Court’s decision, the case...more

JDB 055: Classic JDBlogger – Interview with Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits

Have you ever looked at the law firms at the top of the Google results and wonder what they have that you don’t? In this week’s episode of the JDBlogger Podcast I interview Spencer Haws the owner of the popular blog and...more

Respecting Boilerplate

Boilerplate refers to the legal clauses of general application typically found at the very front and very end of complex agreements (or the flip side of printed forms, or the “click-through” screens of online forms). This...more

Mainebiz Real Estate Insider – Enfeoffing Your Emblements: Losing Lawyer Language

The next time you review a deed that you receive from your lawyer, check it for the word “behoof.” It typically occurs in the phrase “..and to its and their use and behoof forever.” If you find it, call your attorney and ask...more

The Roundup: This Week’s Recommended Reading

Welcome to The Roundup for the week ending April 18. We have lots of thought-provoking pieces to share this week. From Around the Web - - From War Zone To Heartbreak To Successful Law Practice: A JAG Corp...more

Fourteen Tips To Make You A Better Litigator

Thirty-plus years as a litigator have taught me some ways to bring out my best as a litigator in writing motions, in the courtroom, and in the tumble of daily practice. I suspect these tips may work for you too. Pick a...more

An Utterly Disingenuous Post About The Resolutely Hyperbolic Nature of Legal Writing

During my time at Beloit College, I spent too much time playing frisbee golf, drinking Keystone Light, and getting mad at Ryan Schur and Chris Deszynski while playing FIFA 2005 even though I knew their only purpose in playing...more

Clear Writing Through Purposeful Sentences

Clear writing makes winning more likely. Why? Consider our courts’ workloads. A federal district court judge, on average, annually handles over five hundred filings. The federal appellate courts annually...more

Just What Does “Deem” Mean?

The Legislature likes to deem things, but what does it really intend when it does so? Consider the following examples...more

What should I blog about? 3 simple ways to generate ideas

“What should I blog about?”the_idea_generator_by_debbiefong-d52nyt1 “How can I figure out a new topic every week?” “After my first blog post, I was out of ideas.” I hear these comments all the time. It is...more

The Art of Dissent

One panel at the 2013 Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit focused on dissenting opinions: reasons to write them, their role and possible impact, and the preservation of court collegiality when dissenting. Moderated by...more

Writing as a Signal

Although it was many lost brain cells ago, I can still remember those first days of law school when my classmates and I spent a week or two figuring out how to even read a court decision or legal brief. It struck me as odd...more

5 Written Communication Skills for In-House Counsel

Part of our In-House Perspective series, this article offers five communication skills and methods necessary for the successful in-house counsel. These are suggestions for internal communications in general, rather than for...more

How To Order Your Arguments

As a very general rule, arguments in a brief should appear in order of descending power or importance. A judge may stop reading on reaching a clearly winning argument or on deciding that the opening briefing is so weak as not...more

Eight Tips for Successful Proofing

Careful proofing is as important as excellent writing. Errors and omissions slip into briefs so easily, especially if several people are working on it. There are many good tips for proofing, all best employed a day or more...more

Reading Law: An Indispensable Treatise

In 2012, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and legal writing expert, Bryan Garner, published Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts. According to its authors, the purpose of the book is two fold: (1) to promote a...more

Lessons Learned from Litigators: How to Avoid Litigation When Doing a Deal

In this Publication: - 2.1 Introduction 2–1 - 2.2 General Considerations About Contract Drafting 2–2 - § 2.2.1 Does the Contract Reflect a “Meeting of the Minds”? 2–2 - § 2.2.2 The Words of the...more

Letters of Intent Save Clients Money

The complexity of documents for business transactions continues to grow exponentially. In 1985, a standard lease for a 5,000 RSF space was often less than 20 pages. In 2013, it’s not uncommon for a lease for a 2,000 RSF...more

Deference (And Related Issues)

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or...more

6 Things To Include In A Final Money Judgment

Before the clerk of the court will issue a writ of execution or writ of garnishment on a judgment, the clerk will review the judgment to ensure it is valid and enforceable. ...more

A Statutory Definition of Charity

The Government has Passed the Charities Act – Finally a Statutory Definition of Charity - Following public consultation in 2011 and earlier this year, the Federal Government passed the Charities Act 2013 (Act) and...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Decide Whether to Adopt the Third Restatement of Torts

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently agreed to hear an appeal in the matter of Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., 64 A.3d 626 (2013), in order to decide whether to replace the strict products liability analysis of Section 402A...more

Fast Five: Rhode Island Appellate Practice: June 2013 #2

Among the many programs offered at this year’s Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting was a continuing legal education program titled “Dos and Don’ts of Appellate Practice.” The panel, moderated by my colleague, John...more

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