July 16, 2008
The Importance of Proofreading Appendices
Posted by Alan Childress
Quoting West's "Headnote of the Day" for July 9, Ray Ward and a commenter at the (new) legal writer blog observe that slapping on appendices to a filing is often hurried and harried -- yet may cause dire consequences via the old-fashioned kind of metadata: scrawled marginal notes. The headnote:
Conduct of Department of Justice attorney in scribbling in the margin of district judge’s opinion, submitted as appendix to Department’s brief, the word “WRONG” beside several findings of district judge was “indecorous and unprofessional conduct.” Allen v. Seidman, 881 F.2d 375 (1989).
Ray's "guess is that the attorney never intended for anyone outside the office to see those marginal notes. He or she probably wrote them while reviewing the district judge’s opinion, then put the opinion in the file." Misproofreading at filing ensued. Me, I'm not so sure. The lawyer may have thought this to be pointed and aggressive adversarialositude. Still, it is a reminder to thoughtfully review appendices and not just the brief before filing. And yes, Ray, I realize I split an infinitive just there.
Moral: Your appendix is a vestigial organ with no known function but it will kill you if it goes awry. (The appendix does apparently feature, however, in the debate over evolution "versus" creation.)
I still think the good-advice headnote to beat, as "KeyCite 45k - Reinstatement," is:
Disbarred attorney who threatens to execute members of [Louisiana] Supreme Court and states that he has been told by two bishops that neither they nor the church would say that it would be morally wrong for him to summarily execute the Supreme Court is not entitled to reinstatement.
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