Previous month:
May 2013
Next month:
July 2013

June 2013

One (1) or more things not to do

In footnote 1 of this opinion, Judge Alex Kozinski riffs on what does not help in brief writing:

We do not (except in the caption) follow the appellant’s counsel’s interesting practice of writing the names of the people involved in CAPITAL LETTERS. Neither do we follow the appellee’s counsel’s practice of writing appellant’s name in BOLD-FACED CAPITAL LETTERS. Nor do we intend to write all numbers both as text and numerals, as in “eleven (11) loose teeth, two (2) of which were shattered[;] [m]oreover, her jaw was broken in three (3) places.” Appellee’s Brief at 7. Finally, we will also not “set off important text” by putting it on “separate lines” and enclosing it in “quotation marks.”

See id. at 10. While we realize counsel had only our welfare in mind in engaging in these creative practices, we assure them that we would have paid no less attention to their briefs had they been more conventionally written.

Snarky, perhaps, but some people just have to be told.

(Hat tip to my friend and colleague Louis LaCour.)

La. Second and Third Circuit e-mail alerts

In two prior posts, I shared how I monitor the doings at the Louisiana Supreme Court and the Louisiana First Circuit. Today we will look at the Second and Third Circuits.

Like the Louisiana Supreme Court, both the Second and Third Circuits offer an e-mail alert service. The alerts are not case-specific; they simply inform you that new decisions have been uploaded to the court’s web site. A hyperlink in the e-mail takes you to the opinions page, where you can scan the case names and docket numbers of the new decisions, and download a PDF of any decision that interests you.

The systems are simple but effective. Though I only recently subscribed to the Second Circuit’s service, I’ve been a Third Circuit subscriber for quite a while. For whatever reason, I’ve had many cases in the Third Circuit lately. And by subscribing to the Third Circuit’s e-mail alerts, I’ve learned about decisions in my cases the same morning that the decisions were released.

To subscribe to the Second Circuit’s e-mail alerts, just go to the court’s home page, click on Subscribe in the navigation bar, and follow the directions. For the Third Circuit, go to the court’s home page, click on Opinions in the left sidebar, and click on the subscription hyperlink.

How to cite a multi-volume record

Any citation should do two things: (1) Make it easy for the reader to locate whatever it is that you’re citing. (2) Be concise. With these goals in mind, this is how I cite a page in a multi-volume record:

volume number R. page number

For example, the citation to volume 2, page 499, is 2 R. 499.

I did not invent this citation method. It’s the same one used to cite the case books. Volume number, an abbreviation, and page number.

Why provide the volume number when the record pages are consecutively numbered? For instance, if there is only one page 499 in the entire record, why not “R. 499”? Because concision is the second goal of a citation. The first goal is to make it as easy as possible for the reader to find what you’re citing. So rather than make the reader guess which volume page 499 might be in, give her or him the volume number.

If you want to cite lines on a page, follow the convention for citing chapter and verse in a book of the Bible:

volume number R. page number:line number(s)

For example, the citation to the Second Book of Kings, Chapter 20, verses 7–8 is 2 Kings 20:7–8. Similarly, the citation to the record, volume 2, page 499, lines 4–6 is 2 R. 499:4–6.