By On Sep 26, 2018 Form Templates
The late Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was a stickler for super-tight prose. Once, when his student clerk, Eugene Gelernter (now a New York City litigator), brought him a draft opinion, the great judge said: "Nice draft, Gene. Now go back and read it again. Take out every paragraph you dont need, then every sentence you dont need. Then go back and take out every word you dont need. Then, when you are done with that, go back and start the whole process all over again." We should all have such a mentor.
Whether you are writing a research memo, an opinion letter or a brief, you will need an up-front summary. That typically consists of three things: the principal questions, the answers to those questions and the reasons for those answers. If you are drafting a motion or brief, try to state on page one the main issue and why your client should win—and put it in a way that your friends and relatives could understand. Thats your biggest challenge.
A common shortcoming of green or hurried researchers, especially when a project is slightly overdue, is to turn in an interim draft in the hope of getting preliminary feedback. That can be ruinous. What busy supervisor wants to read serial drafts? Besides, you should never turn in tentative work—its better to be a little late than wrong. That goes for turning in projects to impatient clients as well. But keep your supervisor (and, if warranted, your client) updated on the status of your work.
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