Longtime readers have suffered through my various thoughts, hangups, and neuroses about legal writing.

Prime among them is a frustration with the way lawyers confuse personal attacks with effective advocacy.

By way of example, I’m reading through the record in an appeal right now.

It has taken me less than 2 docket entries to get

One of the side benefits of my job is that every now and then, for reasons I can’t begin to understand, legal-writing books just show up in the mail. Sometimes they come to me, and sometimes they go to our librarian. Either way, I am compelled to drop everything I’m doing to read them immediately.

I had just agreed to give a talk on legal writing when I came across this post on the Appellate Record, discussing the Fifth Circuit’s recent opinion in Sanches v. Carrollton Farmers Branch Independent School District.

Sanches is a gem for two reasons.

First, it’s a completely absurd case. In a fact pattern that probably only makes sense in the Lone Star State, a complaint over failing to make the cheerleading team somehow festered into a Title IX/Section1983 action.

Second, as discussed below, Sanches single-handedly covers about half of the points for my presentation.

Here’s to God, and football, and Texas forever.


Continue Reading Don’t Mess with Texis [sic]: Legal-Writing Lessons from a Fifth-Circuit Benchslap

I gave up swearing for Lent.

This has crippled my ability to communicate effectively. To a staggering degree.

Opposing counsel in some (not all) of my cases now operate under the delusion that I’m “reasonable.” The associates I’m working with are left to conclude that their performance has improved dramatically–except for Finney, who knows what