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
briefs quote too often.
■ 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).
■ 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).
■ 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...