Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Quote: Justices Ginsburg and Story

Justice Story, appointed to the High Court bench in 1811, gave this counsel to appellate lawyers of his day; I borrow, with some of my own editing, from lines he called Advice for the Advocate, and I recommend his counsel to lawyers of our day:

Be brief, be pointed
Lucid in style and order
Spend no words on trifles
Strike but a few blows, strike them to the heart
Scattered fires smother in smoke and noise
Keep this your main guide
Short be your speech, your matter strong and clear
And leave off, leave off when done.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Remarks for the University of Virginia Student Legal Forum Dinner 13-14 (Mar. 22, 1990) (then a DC Circuit judge).