By On Oct 06, 2018 Form Templates
Law school exams encourage students to use the one-hand-other-hand approach: The outcome could be this, or it could be that. Even experienced lawyers sometimes hedge needlessly. This approach can look wishy-washy. Whats wanted is your best thought about how a court will come down on an issue.
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.
When given an assignment, ask plenty of questions. Read the relevant documents and take good notes. Learn all you can about the clients situation. If you are a junior asked to write a memo or a motion but you are not told anything about the clients actual problem, ask what it is in some detail. You must be adequately briefed—and thats partly your responsibility. Theres almost no way to write a good research memo in the abstract. As you are reading cases and examining statutes, you will be in a much better position to apply your findings if you know the relevant specifics.
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