LexisNexis Corporate & Securities Law Community 2011 Top 50 Blogs

Bon mots

"You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra

"We do not distain to borrow wit or wisdom from any man who is capable of lending us either." Henry Fielding, Tom Jones

"In our complex society the accountant's certificate and the lawyer's opinion can be instruments for inflicting pecuniary loss more potent than the chisel or the crowbar." United States v. Benjamin, 328 F.2d 854, 862 (2d Cir. 1964)

Way Off Topic Bon Mots - A judge with a sense of humor about legal writing

I'm a sucker of readable court opinions that provide some light and pizazz. Especially since I myself am more of a claimer than a stakes horse in the entertaining writing department.

Judge Farmer of the Florida Court of Appeal Fourth District on legal writing. The case is Funny Cide Ventures, LLC, v. The Miami Herald Publishing Co. (May 16, 2007, No. 4D06-2347).

"Once there was a maverick law Professor who denounced all legal writing. He said there were two things wrong with it: its content and its style." (footnote omitted)


"Judicial writing is still a prominent form of legal writing. Most of it is dreary and tedious."


"A surprising number are way too long. There is often a painstaking account of background and trial which turns out to be unnecessary to grasp the essential issues to be decided. Many have extended discussion of rules and principles no one really challenges, or few would dispute. Judges pile on needless details of date, time and place, modified by confusing identifying terms (appellant-cross appellee-defendant) without regard to clarity. Extended comparative quotations alternate with exposition of one sort or another. Legal issues are analyzed through mind-numbing, many-factored "tests." Each factor is unloaded nit by nit, as though the judges actually decided the dispute in precisely that way. Arcane legal terminology is woven in and out, even though simpler, plainer words could be used. Simplicity, tone, style, voice, personality, levity - all are shunned."