There is a school of thought in legal writing that you should never put anything too important in footnotes, as some readers might skip over them.  See, e.g., https://www.legalwritingpro.com/articles/the-lowdown-on-footnotes/.  Well, if you are one of those readers, then you would have missed a good footnote from an unpublished Fourth Circuit opinion issued on Monday.    The opinion starts with the sentence “This appeal presents conflict of laws and conflict of interests questions in an insurance coverage dispute.” … Continue Reading

COVID-19 interrupted the plans of many North Carolina law students.  In-person classes (Cancelled).  Students (Sent home).  Summer internships (Postponed, shortened, or cancelled).

In the midst of these upheavals, the Court of Appeals showed aspiring advocates how to turn lemons into lemonade.  Judges Richard Dietz and Phil Berger, Jr. created a five-week, no-cost, online seminar for law students.  The topic?  North Carolina appellate practice and procedure. … Continue Reading

I love clear writing.  But, on further review, maybe what I love is interesting clear writing.   That is, maybe clarity is necessary but not sufficient.

Take children’s books.  Many are clearly written.  But that’s small solace as you lay there reading a clear-but-boring tale to your beloved offspring for the 1,000th time.

Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, who sits on the Sixth Circuit, is famous for his interesting clear writing. … Continue Reading