Monday, March 01, 2004

Bad briefing

Here is a somewhat-delayed link to a delightful post from Tim Sandefur about a really bad brief, described as follows by one opinion writer:

"To the extent BAM has successfully persuaded me of the fundamental soundness of its position, that success should not be attributed, in any degree, to its counsel’s unrestrained and unnecessary use of the bold, underline, and "all caps" functions of word processing or his repeated use of exclamation marks to emphasize points in his briefs.... While I appreciate a zealous advocate as much as anyone, such techniques, which really amount to a written form of shouting, are simply inappropriate in an appellate brief. It is counterproductive for counsel to litter his brief with burdensome material such as “WRONG! WRONG ANALYSIS! WRONG RESULT! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!"

Probably the only brief like that I have written was on a petition for rehearing, which Justice Stevens once described as futile to the administration of justice but beneficial to society in allowing frustrated lawyers to ventilate.

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