News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for March 1st, 2012

Civility in Brief Writing

Miss Manners would not approve of these government lawyers. The Legal Writing Prof Blog recently posted about a Fourth Circuit case, U.S. v. Venable, in which the court called out a group of lawyers on the disrespectful language they used in their brief.  In a footnote to the opinion, the court made its unhappiness with the attorneys painfully clear: “Finally, we feel compelled to note that advocates, including government lawyers, do themselves  a disservice when their briefs contain disrespectful or uncivil language directed against the district court, the reviewing court, opposing counsel, parties, or witnesses.”  The court further noted that “[t]he government is reminded that such disrespectful and uncivil language will not be tolerated by this court.”

Civility in actions, as well as in writing, is just as important. CBA PracticeLink offers Civility in the Legal Practice: Practical Tips covering when to employ “Courtesy to the Rude Lawyer” and “Courtesy to the Stupid Lawyer.” The book Maximize Your Lawyer Potential: Professionalism and Business Etiquette for Law Students and Lawyers [Find it] may also be helpful.