Tuesday, September 27, 2011
From Yoda to You
READ ENTIRE OPINIONS.
“The habit of reading only part of an opinion can be very dangerous. To paraphrase Professor Emeritus Gideon Kanner of Loyola Law School, ‘Every opinion carries within it the seeds of its own destruction.’ If you fail to read the entire opinion, you may miss something important — something your adversary is likely to find and use against you.”
ALWAYS THINK CROSSOVER.
“Real world legal problems aren’t confined to a single subject. You must canvass the entire spectrum of conceivably relevant topic areas in every case and revisit that analysis as the case progresses.”
PROCEDURE IS CRITICAL.
“[P]rocedure permeates everything. The procedural basis for a matter supplies the critical context for all other issues. . . . Though woefully undervalued in law school . . . procedure and evidence are often as important as substantive law.”
THE FACTS MATTER—A LOT.
“[T]he facts drive the outcome. . . . You may not have gone to law school to become a detective or a storyteller, but without ability in those roles, your mastery over the law may be meaningless.”
STRONG WRITING WINS CASES.
“Gauging by how law schools treat them, one would think legal research and writing are minor, pesky parts of lawyering. Believing that is a huge mistake. In fact, cases are won and client goals achieved— and that is the point, isn’t it?—by written advocacy (with oral advocacy a distant second).”
“Successful legal writing in the real world requires conciseness, directness, multiple rounds of editing, and as much engaging style as you can muster. . . . if you want your papers to be read and understood, you must marshal facts to tell compelling tales, find just the right—and right amount of—supporting legal authority, and persuade the reader to agree with you—all using the fewest possible words.”
Pick up Los Angeles Lawyer's Survival Guide for New Lawyers or click here for more solid advice.