Ever wondered what a federal appellate judge thinks of your legal writing? Judge Robert Bacharach of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals told Jeff Lewis and me on the California Appellate Law Podcast. Judge Bacharach just published a book titled, Legal Writing: A Judge's Perspective. Judge Bacharach would like you to know:
✎ Writing clearly keeps your readers fresh and alert.
✎ A reader you've burdened with complex sentences and lots of acronyms may be too worn out to be persuaded by your arguments. The judge is willing to go on the journey with you. If you want the judge to arrive at the same place as you, take the straight paths: don't wear out your judge.
✎ The table of contents helps your readers orient themselves to your arguments so they can understand them and then – and only then – be persuaded by them. Yet only half of litigants make use of this highly effective tool!
✎ Next time you consider starting a sentence with "However," try "But" instead.
✎ Why do so many attorneys still think impugning their colleagues and the court is anything other than self-defeating?
✎ Beware of inserting humor and pop culture references into your briefs. Some federal judges employ them in their writing. But many federal judges do not. And at any rate: You are not a federal judge.