Monday, February 24, 2014

Herrmann's "Crappy Writer" Test!

Mark Herrmann's latest, Are You A Crappy Litigator? A Self-Assessment Test! is here!
The gist of it is, if you start a brief looking like the below, you're making a huge mistake:
“COMES NOW Defendant [Somebody], Inc., f/k/a [some other name] (hereinafter “Somebody”), by and through its counsel, Bigg & Mediocre, and pursuant to [some rule of procedure] hereby submits its motion for [whatever the heck the rule you just cited authorizes], and states the following in support thereof:”
Why is this so bad? Lots of reasons. "Comes now" is just silly. And the whole bit about naming the party, its counsel and what the motion or brief is, is totally redundant, because there's already a caption or cover that takes care of that. His sage advice? "[C]ut the boilerplate throat-clearing and use your opening paragraph to show the judge why your client should win ...."
To this, I'd add, if your conclusion begins "For the foregoing reasons ...." then you're making essentially the same mistake outlined above. The "Conclusion" heading already conveys "for the foregoing reasons," so don't bother with that cliché and get down to business.
(Don't recognize Mark Herrmann? He's the curmudgeon who should be your hero!)

And here's Bryan Garner's latest, Weighing the Arguments For and Against Obfuscation in Court.