Oh, those pesky footnotes
Lessons from a copywriter

Literary rhetoric and judicial writing

Do literary citations have a place in legal writing? It does, says John M. DeStefano, III. In his recently published article, On Literature as Legal Authority, 49 Ariz. L. Rev. 521 (2007), he explores the uses and misuses of literature in written judicial rhetoric. Here’s the synopsis:

This Note surveys the courts’ use of poetry, fiction, and drama to develop substantive law. Combining the premises of legal realism and literary criticism, the Note rejects the position held by Judge Posner and other critics that literature is too subjective to offer the law legitimate substantive guidance. As caselaw examples demonstrate, the subjectivity of great writing can provide judicial opinions with a unique view to the complexity of life.

(Hat tip to Legal Writing Prof Blog.)


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