Use Quotations to Make a Point, 0319 COBJ, Vol. 48, No. 3 Pg. 12

Author:By MICHAEL A. BLASIE
Position:Vol. 48, 3 [Page 12]
 
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48 Colo.Law. 12

Use Quotations to Make a Point

Vol. 48, No. 3 [Page 12]

Colorado Lawyer

March, 2019

MODERN LEGAL WRITING

By MICHAEL A. BLASIE

Many lawyers fill briefs with quotes—too many quotes. A quote parade rarely helps readers. Here are some tips on when to use quotes and how to use them effectively.

Use Quotations Sparingly

Many briefs quote too often.[1] If you are analyzing the words in the quote, use it. If the quote has unique phrasing that pops, use it. But if you can say it better in your own words, don't quote. Most of the time you can say it better, and shorter, in your own words.[2]

Example 1

■ Before: "Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a 'short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009), quoting F.R.C.P. 8(a)(2).

■ After: Complaints must contain a short and plain statement explaining why a claim succeeds. F.R.C.P. 8(a)(2).

Example 2

■ Before: "As the Court held in Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,127S.CL 1955,167L.Ed.2d929,the pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me-accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

■ After: Although complaints do not require detailed factual allegations, they require more than bare accusations of harm. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,678 (2009).

Example 3

■ Before: "A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

■ After: Complaints must state more than labels, conclusions, or a claim's elements. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,678 (2009).

Weave Quotes into Your Argument

Here are some stereotypical introductions to quotes:

■ As the Supreme Court held in Smith v...

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