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Ah, citations. Some appellate advocates may see these as the bane of their writing existence. But, of course, they perform an important–indeed, an essential–function in supporting an appellate advocate’s argument. Without them, a judge reading your brief would never know…
Continue Reading The Future of Citations: Moving Them, Modifying Them, or Just Cleaning Them Up

Pending before the Arizona Supreme Court is a petition to change court rules and dispense with the table of citations in state briefs. According to the full petition,

The Table of Citations is no longer needed to help a reader navigate to a particular cited source because most briefs are filed in electronic format with searchable text. Cumulatively, appellate litigants spend an unjustifiable amount of time and resources creating Tables of Citations.

The authors claim that readers now use “searchable text and hyperlinks to navigate the brief and locate cited authorities,” rather than the table. The tables, are incredibly
Continue Reading Should courts dispense with the Table of Authorities?

In the novel Guy Mannering, Sir Walter Scott wrote that a “lawyer without history or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect.” As lawyers and especially as appellate advocates, we aspire to creating an edifice where the rule of law governs and not simply the politics of the day. We seek to design the law to withstand political winds while capable of change though remaining true to rules and standards that sensibly apply regardless of the ascendant ideologies.

It is not an easy task,
Continue Reading A call for law over politics