R+W Legal Consultants

Research + Writing Tools for Today's Litigators

  • Professor Judith Fischer has drafted a great article on how to transform dull writing into exciting writing (to the extent that legal writing can be exciting). You should follow her advice if your goal is to keep your reader awake.

  • CLE on Legal Writing

    What should you do when your opponent cites authority in a motion or brief that appears directly on point? Panic. Actually, you have a better option—read my article on countering adverse authority. My article at the Lawyerist.com identifies six ways to refute adverse authority. If all six methods are inapplicable and the adverse authority is binding on a key issue, you are in trouble. Consider settling your claims.

  • children little secret

    Today, I discuss the second “P” in the P+P Principle. If you are wondering what the heck is that Principle, then read my prior posting. I explained all the juicy details in that posting, including why the text preceding a parenthetical determines the content of the parenthetical.

    The second “P” refers to the purpose for including a parenthetical with a citation. Like the preceding text, the purpose for using a parenthetical also determines what information belongs in the parenthetical. You may use parentheticals for various purposes, such as

  • children little secret

    I am sorry for my lack of postings in December. I was enjoying one of the non-financial benefits of being a professor—a long Christmas break! I am kicking off the new year with a series of postings on how to draft effective explanatory parentheticals for your citations in your motions and briefs. This post and the next one will focus on the P+P Principle (which I intentionally made ambiguous so you would continue reading).

  • I am taking a break from my blog for the next week to celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas.    

  • If you have spent at least 10 minutes reading my blog, then you know that I enjoy discussing free websites for legal research. In a prior post, I explained that Justia will deliver weekly summaries of recent cases to your email. Today, you will learn about another service that provides case summaries. (I am presuming that you will click the “read more” button below).

  • Each major premise in your motions and briefs must be supported by authority. The initial cases that you find after running a Google search are probably not your best ones. (Yes, we know that you use Google to research, but we won’t tell your clients. But we will tell the ethics commission if you try to bill those research “costs,” which you would never do, of course.)

    So how should you select the best authority?

  • Soest-Scene-in-Snow1

    “The most important sentence in any article is the first one. If it doesn’t induce the reader to proceed to the next sentence, your article is dead.” Although William Zinsser was referring to writing in general, his statement applies with equal force to legal writing. You don’t want a “dead” motion (unless you represent a funeral home).

  • Fuerzas Comando 2012 obstacle course

    Professor Joi Montiel of Jones School of Law has published a great article on how an appellate brief can create an obstacle course for judges. Unlike our brave soldiers, judges dislike obstacles. Your brief should provide judges with a clear pathway to your conclusions. Professor Montiel identifies 10 obstacles (again, these are bad things).

  • I love including explanatory parentheticals with my citations in motions and briefs. In fact, I wrote the first law review article on how to persuade judges using parentheticals. I was thrilled when I discovered wellsettled.com, a new search engine that allows researchers to keyword search the text of the parentheticals used in court opinions.

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