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Posner Talks Legal Writing

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January 8, 2017

An interview with Judge Richard A. Posner on legal writing is full of suggestions for how to make briefs more interesting and clear. Law students should embrace simple legal writing (”legalese is very rarely necessary”), Posner says. But feel free to stretch the 14,000-word limit on briefs if you’re employing creative writing, he suggests. If he had his way, Posner would abolish the Bluebook Manual of Citations, and the casebook. “I tell my law clerks not to look at the Bluebook, ever. I regard the Bluebook really as a monstrosity.”  The allegiance to such things is indicative of a lack of progressive thinking among lawyers, Posner suggested. “Scientists are always looking ahead, and want to improve science and discover new things. But lawyers, including law professors and judges, they are always looking backwards.”

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