The never ending debate over citational footnotes.
Wish I knew this when I was diagramming sentences in grade school.

Good advice on how not to write an opener

Over at Above the Law, Mark Herrmann has an interesting self-assessment test, designed to determine whether you are a “crappy litigator.” (Mark’s words.) It also contains a lesson on how not to write the first sentence in a brief. Here’s the short version: if the first words are “Comes now” or the equivalent, well, Mark has some bad news for you.

If Mark’s piece doesn’t convince you, look up Bryan Garner’s entry for “comes now, now comes” in Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage 176 (3d ed. 2011). And if you happen to have Garner’s The Winning Brief handy, check out Tip 73.


Celia Elwell

I don't have Garner's book. What is Tip 73?

Ray Ward

The short version of Tip 73 is “Swear off the hence-the-title principle.” This means to not waste your opening paragraph repeating information already in the title.

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