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.
YFind out what the standards are for citing authority in your jurisdiction. In California, lawyers follow the California Style Manual. In New York, they should (but frequently dont) follow the New York Law Reports Style Manual. In Texas, every knowledgeable practitioner follows the Texas Rules of Form. Other states have their own guides. And, of course, The Bluebook and the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation are widely used as defaults (and sometimes required by court rules). Even if you are not inclined to care much about these things, you better learn to obsess over them. Otherwise, you will look unschooled.
If your client paid for song and verse, then thats what you give them. Increasingly, Unbundled Legal Services are becoming more common. In plain English, this means the attorney gets paid for something less than full representation through trial. That means you could be called on to write a nastygram letter to a defendant and thats it. Its good to make a good first impression, so make sure that your client gets what she pays for. And there isnt (to our knowledge) any ethical rule prohibiting writing letters before first drafting any sort of correspondence. Careful, however, of charging extra-high fees to write a simple letter that might run afoul of the ABA reasonable fees provision.
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