Tuesday, March 18, 2014
In his March ABA Journal column, Bryan Garner quoted this quip by Justice Oliver Wendell Homes: "Lawyers spend a great deal of time shoveling smoke." Garner also cited nineteenth-century English barrister F.C. Moncreiff, who advised lawyers to obfuscate when they have a weak case. But Garner says that's bad advice. Of his mentor, a renowned lawyer, Garner says, "I never heard him try to confuse a court." Garner concludes, "If you want to win, you can't write a 'hide-the-ball brief' or make a 'hide-the-ball' argument. That goes nowhere. You must make clear points and hope the scales weigh in their favor."