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The Inside Scoop: What Federal Judges Really Think About the Way Lawyers Write

Journal of Legal Writing Institute, Vol. 8, p. 257, 2002

Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 1131267

29 Pages Posted: 9 May 2008  

Kristen Konrad Tiscione

Georgetown University Law Center

Abstract

A recent survey indicates that what troubles federal judges most is not what lawyers say but what they fail to say when writing briefs.

Although lawyers do a good job articulating legal issues and citing controlling, relevant legal authority, they are not doing enough with the law itself. Only fifty-six percent of the judges surveyed said that lawyers "always" or "usually" make their client's best arguments. Fifty-eight percent of the judges rated the quality of the legal analysis as just "good," as opposed to "excellent" or "very good." The problem seems to be that briefs lack rigorous analysis, and the bulk of the work is left to busy judges. Many judges also indicated that lawyers often make redundant or weak arguments that detract from the good ones. What judges really want is shorter, harder hitting briefs.

Keywords: legal writing, judges

Suggested Citation

Tiscione, Kristen Konrad, The Inside Scoop: What Federal Judges Really Think About the Way Lawyers Write. Journal of Legal Writing Institute, Vol. 8, p. 257, 2002; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 1131267. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1131267

Kristen Konrad Tiscione (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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