Unless you’re striving for comic effect, never use this word.
The never ending debate over citational footnotes.

I cook everything from scratch.

More than once, I have been asked for a form, or a template, or for some boilerplate language. For briefs, I have nothing pre-fab. I cook everything from scratch, from the cover up to the certificates of service and compliance.

Why? Because in my brief-writing world, my job is not to push a passable work product out the door. My job is to persuade another human being who, starting out, does not necessarily agree with me. So aside from the certifcates of service and compliance, not a drop of ink that I sign is boilerplate. Every letter has no purpose—no purpose—except to persuade the reader.

Why: I don’t know about you, but speaking for myself, I am never, ever, persuaded by a patch of boilerplate. So if your job is to persuade the reader, why would you include boilerplate in your brief?


p.s. I’ve edited this post to tone down some of the language; apologies to anyone who was offended. Also the original post overstated my non-use of boilerplate—I do use boilerplate for the certificate of service and certificate of compliance. But except for those elements, I do write every brief from scratch, from the certificate of interested persons through the signature block at the end.



Well, on the bright side, when I'm reading a brief with a lot of obvious boilerplate (like, say, a page and a half on the standards for summary judgment), it makes my job a lot easier because that's a passage that I know I can skip.


I saw the original post, and I wasn't offended. Strong language can be useful in conveying strong feelings. The language was certainly informal - nothing anyone would want to use in briefwriting - but I don't think a blog has to live by the rules of formal writing. And you weren't likely to be responsible for corrupting anyone - I'd assume that most of your readers are lawyers, so we were all corrupted long ago.

That said, I can understand your decision to dial back the language. Your modified post makes the same points and it does so without running the risk of offending anyone (which seems to be very easy to do nowadays).

Either way, thanks for the advice.

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