Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Never on a ....

Image result for never on sundayConventional wisdom says, "The Supremes conference on Wednesdays." But Mr. Smarty Pants responds, "Not always. There's actually a conference today, Tuesday. And there was one a couple Tuesday's ago, on November 10," What gives? In weeks with holidays, the Supremes sometimes bump up their conference by a day. It happened twice this year. Next year it's scheduled to happen once, also during Thanksgiving week, on Tuesday November 22, 2016. So, enjoy the holiday. [To be clear: California Courts are closed on Thursday and Friday; federal courts are closed only on Thursday.]

ABA e-news offers Professors Share Top Advice for Better Legal Writing.
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And, in case a reminder is needed, just because an unpublished Court of Appeal decision happens to support your position, that doesn't make it "law of the case"(!) as noted by 4/1 here in Smith v. Smith (pg. 17). Sanctions could have been imposed... {Not to be left out, 2/8 also issued a Smith v. Smith decision today, Herman Smith v. Erman Smith.}
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Scene from the original Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Hitchcock 1941)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Know when to stop talking

Today's DJ features a nice piece by Michael Masuda, titled The Smartest Thing I never Said, which begins:
Attorneys talk too much. Some lawyers will consider this heresy demanding a lengthy rebuttal. But we all know it's true. It's as if attorneys, like Charles Dickens, are paid by the word. .... I'm convinced the main causes of this verbosity are the yin and yang of our profession - overconfidence and insecurity. Each breeds loquaciousness.
Image result for stop talkingAlthough not an appellate-related article on its face, its implications for oral argument are obvious: Advocates need to develop of skill of knowing when when to stop talking at sit down.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Appellate tidbits

The Beverly Hills Bar Ass'n presents (On Nov. 19 @ 7:30) Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today (details here) a film plus MCLE discussion including 2/8's Justice Rubin.

Friday's Recorder featured Myron Moskovitz's Improve Your Chances When Seeking a Writ, which suggests showing: (1) immediacy; (2) an opportunity to clarify the law; and (3) a serious injustice by the lower court. He concludes "don't feel bad if your petition is denied. Most of them are."

Yesterday's NLJ offered Federal Appeals Judges Open Up About Clerk-Hiring Preferences.

Yesterday's Law.com offered Justices' Eleventh-Hour Queries Scramble Oral Arguments.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It depends on what the meaning of "and" is.

Image result for hendiadysToday's DJ features UCLA Law Prof. Samuel Bray's piece titled "This and that and the Constitution," a preview into his forthcoming law review article about hendiadys in the Constitution. What?! Never heard that term before? Well, he explains:
Hendiadys - pronounced "hen-DIE-u-dus" - is a figure of speech. It is the use of two terms, separated by a conjunction, that work together as a single unit of meaning. For example, if a farmer says his cow is "nice and fat," he does not mean two things: first, the cow has a pleasant disposition; second, the cow is weighty. He means just one thing: The cow is nicely fat, quite fat. This figure of speech is common in a wide variety of languages. In English it is found in many sources, including the Bible ("the earth was without form and void"), Shakespeare ("the flash and outbreak of a fiery mind"), and Blackstone ("[to act] with prudence and reputation as an advocate"). Sometimes it is hard to determine whether a phrase is a hendiadys (as opposed to two requirements, or a tautology, or a term of art). If a phrase is an instance of hendiadys, its meaning still has to be determined from context.
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Monday's DJ also presented How RBG and O'Connor Defied the Odds, and Changed the World, a book review by Tyna Orren of Sisters in Law, by Linda Hirshman.

Law360 today presents 5 Things to Leave Out of Your Next Brief:
1- Information Overload
2- Why you Hate the Opposing Counsel
3- Long Lectures on Legal Standards
4- Repeated Arguments
5- Needless Words