Practice What You Preach

The recent release of interview transcripts with the Justices on the subject of legal writing is drawing a fair amount of media interest.  The headline is that the members of the Court think that briefs are too long.  “Lawyers somehow can’t give up the extra space,” Justice Ginsburg said, “so they fill the brief unnecessarily, not realizing that eye fatigue and even annoyance will be the response they get for writing an overlong brief.”

If you substitute “Justices” for “Lawyers” and “opinion” for “brief,” you get a terrific description of the Court’s output most of the time.

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4 Responses

  1. Jim Maloney says:

    True enough. But two wrongs don’t make a right. I tend to keep my briefs succinct… and I promise to do the same with my opinions if appointed.

  2. Shag from Brookline says:

    Speaking of:

    ” … eye fatigue and even annoyance … ”

    what about the 70 amici briefs in the Heller 2nd Amendment case? How many Justices read them? (I don’t recall exactly how many were filed in McDonald v. Chicago, but there were quite a few.) The decisions in each of these cases as well as the dissents seem to have resulted in ” … eye fatigue and even annoyance … “. Is there an empirical study demonstrating that SCOTUS decisions, concurrences and dissents have lengthened substantially as the Court decides fewer and fewer cases?

  3. Kent says:

    Does the same apply to law review articles? (no offence. Honestly I have not read enough law review articles to know if all of them are excruciatingly long but I know the ones I have read are.)

  4. Gerard Magliocca says:

    Definitely Kent. I’ve posted about that (concisely) at least once.