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The Eleventh Circuit's style guide

StrunkandwhiteRecently I was admitted to the Bar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. In yesterday's mail, my certificate of admission arrived — accompanied by a copy of The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. Perhaps this is the court's way of suggesting that lawyers follow Strunk's and White's rules when writing briefs, motions, and other papers.

Also included in the package from the court was a cover letter encouraging me to "refer to the most recent revisions of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Eleventh Circuit Rules, and Internal Operating Procedures," all of which are available on the court's web site. This reminder calls to mind an important pointer for any lawyer practicing before any U.S. appellate court: Each court's web site includes links to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the court's local rules. Most of them also include guides and checklists for writing briefs. No matter how many briefs you've written, it's never a bad idea to review those on-line resources before writing your next one. Remember that the rules may have changed since your last brief, and that you can always find the most current versions of the rules and guides on the court's web site.


p.s. (8/25/06): It seems this post attracted the attention of the ABA Journal e-Report.



I agree that you should check the local rules (and IOPs). While the FRAP are revised, if at all, but once a year, some circuits revise their own rules more frequently.

Matthew Stibbe (Bad Language)

I think this is a great idea. I'm genuinely impressed. We should start a campaign to get Strunk & White issued to every newly qualified professional. Wouldn't it be cool if every new PR got one and every new Microsoft Certified Professional and so on. Maybe we could start a kind of guerilla grammarians society and start putting the good book into every hotel room like Gideons.

H Devaraja Rao, Bangalore, India

Strunk and White's Elements of Style is a "mighty midget" no writer can be without.

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