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Ray
New Orleans, Louisiana, Earth
Civil appellate lawyer
Interests: Blues
Recent Activity
What is the serial comma, also known as the Oxford comma? Why should you use it? The Comma Queen has the answers. Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2016 at the (new) legal writer
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a defendant convicted of robbery and aggravated assault wins his appeal because the trial court, in instructing the jury, repeatedly used the phrase and/or to describe the elements of the crimes. State v.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at the (new) legal writer
Listen to my rap ’Bout Strunk & White And your writing will be phat And your prose will be tight. Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2016 at the (new) legal writer
If you plan to apply this year to the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization for certification in appellate law, listen up. One thing you’ll need is 18 hours of appellate CLE. And one place to get a good chunk of those hours (11.75 by my count) is the upcoming DRI... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Some political scientists recently published a study on the use of emotional language in briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. After controlling for a variety of factors, they concluded that overtly emotional language correlates to losing the case. Here’s an excerpt from the abstract: We argue emotional language conveys... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
The latest issue of the Louisiana Bar Journal includes a profile of La. Supreme Court Justice Greg Guidry. If you already threw your copy away, no problem: just follow this link. Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Most appellate courts have rules limiting the number of pages or words in a brief. When a brief is a bit too long, lawyer-editors have a number of techniques for making the brief fit the applicable limit. Some are good. Others are not so good. An example of the latter... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
A couple of days before Christmas, the Louisiana First Circuit gave a lesson in what not to do when seeking to file an amicus curiae brief. In Barfield v. Bolotte, 2015-0847 (La. App. 1 Cir. 12/23/15), the First Circuit denied a would-be amicus’s motion for leave to file a brief.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
So the good folks at Lake Superior State University have published their 41st annual list of banished words. So guess which word is # 1. Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2015 at the (new) legal writer
If you plan to apply to the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization in 2016 for certification as an appellate specialist, one of the things you’ll need is 18 hours of CLE in 2016 in the area of appellate practice. A likely place to pick up some of those hours will... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
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Something I noticed today while waiting for oral argument to start in the U.S. Fifth Circuit’s en banc courtroom: the carvings on the ceiling. The next time you’re in that courtroom, don’t forget to look up. (But not while your case is being argued.) Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Bryan Garner has some good tips on what to do and not do when applying for rehearing. The skinny version: put your anger on hold, and be as courteous and respectful as you can stand to be. Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
When the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were first promulgated in 1937, they came with an appendix of forms. According to Rule 84, “The forms in the Appendix suffice[d] under these rules and illustrate[d] the simplicity and brevity that these... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2015 at the (new) legal writer
The John Minor Wisdom Courthouse, home of the U.S. Fifth Circuit, is a cathedral. Anyone who has ever been inside of it has been awed. Any lawyer who has stood at the lectern in one of its three courtrooms has been humbled. Today, many people probably don’t know the history... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Today, I came across the Louisiana Third Circuit’s recent decision in Babineaux v. University Medical Center, 15-292 (La. App. 3 Cir. 11/4/15), in which the court dismissed the appeal because the appellant appealed the wrong judgment. The sequence of events was not uncommon. The district court granted a defendant’s motion... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Reasonable people can disagree on whether citations should be in footnotes or in main text. But if a court rule or order tells you to put them in text, follow the rule or order. If you don’t, you may get... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2015 at the (new) legal writer
Here is an interesting decision out of the U.S. Fifth Circuit concerning issue preclusion in successive appeals in the same case: Art Midwest, Inc. v. Clapper, No. 14-10973 (5th Cir. Nov. 9, 2015). The bottom line: an issue not argued in the first appeal was waived in the second. In... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
The latest issue of the La. State Bar Association’s publication Bar Briefs include an item about the LSBA’s recent addition of appellate practice to its plan of specialization. According to Bar Briefs, the La. Board of Legal Specialization anticipates accepting applications for certification in appellate practice in 2016. For more... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
As readers of this blog know, beginning in 2016, the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization will begin accepting applications for Board certification in appellate practice. Among the requirements for certification will be 18 hours CLE focused on appellate advocacy and approved by the Board’s Appellate Practice Advisory Commission. As I... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Here is an interesting old book that’s available online for free reading: The Art of Readable Writing (© 1949 by Rudolf Flesch). You may recognize Flesch’s name from those readability algorithms you’ve encountered, like the one built into Word. So... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2015 at the (new) legal writer
As you probably know, databases such as Westlaw often contain not just reported decisions in cases, but also the briefs filed in those cases. I’ve sometimes downloaded those briefs as research tools, just to see whether they lead to authorities that I hadn’t already found. Today, it occurred to me... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
I’ve made a slight correction to yesterday’s post concerning the standards for appellate-specialty certification in Louisiana. As originally written, the post said that among the experience requirements would be six appellate oral arguments, including at least one argument before the Louisiana Supreme Court. Today I learned that the standards will... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Here is some exciting news for Louisiana appellate practitioners: appellate practice has become an area of specialization recognized by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization and approved by the Louisiana Supreme Court. The initial period to apply for appellate specialization will be January 1 through March 31, 2016. If you’re... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Here at T(N)LW, we try to cover all aspects of legal writing. And of course, we love good legal research. With those thoughts in mind (and with an offensive-language warning), here is the brief filed by the Washington Redskins in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2015 at the (new) legal writer
The second edition of Matthew Butterick’s instant classic, Typography for Lawyers, has hit the streets. If you don’t have your copy yet, don’t fret; you can start improving your typography now. Just read and follow Matthew Salzwedel’s 10 Takeaways from... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2015 at the (new) legal writer