Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Don't shovel smoke--elucidate

ABAJ 3-14In 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."



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