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Counting Each Shot — seminar materials

This morning I gave a one-hour presentation at a legal-writing seminar sponsored by the Louisiana State Bar Association. The presentation was based on Counting Each Shot, an article I wrote last year and posted here. I’m most grateful to seminar chair Beau Sagona for giving me the opportunity to speak. I’m also grateful to the attendees for listening, laughing at my jokes, and offering good questions and comments.

For those who are interested, here are PDFs of my written materials and my PowerPoint presentation.

Gratuitous contract not enforceable, even when written in blood

Does a gratuitous promise become legally enforceable when written in blood? No, says a California appellate court, in the latest chapter of Kim v. Son. (Hat tip: Howard Bashman.)

Long-time readers of this blog may remember my July 2007 or August 2008 post about this case. It seems that Mr. Kim invested $140,000 in companies run by Mr. Son. When the companies went belly-up, Messrs. Kim and Son met over drinks to discuss the matter. Mr. Son, probably inebriated and apparently feeling bad about Mr. Kim’s loss, pricked his finger with a safety pin and wrote—in blood (and in Korean)—“Sir, forgive me. Because of my deeds, you have suffered financially.  I will repay you to the best of my ability.”

Some time later, Mr. Kim sued to enforce the blood-written promise. A California trial court held the promise unenforceable because it was not supported by consideration.  On appeal, Mr. Kim filed a brief arguing that “Blood may be thicker than water, but here it’s far weightier than a peppercorn.” But the appellate court disagreed and affirmed the trial court.

So the lesson remains the same as before: When writing a contract, forget the bloody dramatics. Write it on a computer and sign it with an ink pen.

Reminder: LSBA legal-writing seminar

This post is just a reminder about the Louisiana State Bar Association’s upcoming legal-writing seminar, Effective Legal Writing: From Commas to Contracts to Courtrooms. It will be held on March 20 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street. It’s approved for six hours of Louisiana CLE credit, including one hour of professionalism. I am on the program and will give a one-hour presentation on using structure to create emphasis or de-emphasis.1 The full schedule is here, the flyer is here, and the registration form is here.

The sooner you sign up, the cheaper the registration fee. Advance registration up to March 13 is $250; advance registration after March 13 is $275, and on-site registration is $315.
1It’s not as highfalutin as I just made it sound.