Thursday, November 25, 2021
To be sure, the last couple of years have been difficult for many of us. But there still are reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving. As an appellate practitioner, I am thankful for many things this year:
- Westlaw and Lexis. How did I ever find any controlling law without them when I was in law school and when I was a young attorney?
- Rules of Appellate Procedure. Okay, I'm a rule follower. And rule followers like rules.
- The Oxford comma. Without it, I might write this: "I'd like to thank my parents, God and the Virgin Mary." But with it, I really mean this: "I'd like to thank my parents, God, and the Virgin Mary." It also could save someone millions of dollars.
- American English. We fought a war so that we don't have to spell and punctuate like the British do (interestingly, the British don't seem to use the Oxford comma much). Of course, my students have a hard time understanding that in the United States we place periods and commas inside quotation marks.
- Dashes, colons, and semi-colons. They are way undervalued and underutilized.
- Microsoft Word. No, I'm kidding about that. Bring back my WordPerfect (or at least give me some version of WordPerfect's "Reveal Codes").
- The return to in-person oral arguments at the United States Supreme Court and at appellate courts across the country.
- The streaming real-time audio of United States Supreme Court arguments that has continued even after the return to in-person arguments.
- The opportunity to attend live conferences again. The Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit this year was fantastic. You should go next year if you have the opportunity.
- Our justice system--as flawed and imperfect as it might be. We can all work together to make it better.
- People who still try to objectively apply facts to law instead of deciding how they believe cases should turn out based on their own personal agenda. Yes, there are a few of these people left.
- Blogs like this that let nerdy appellate types bond over things like punctuation and citations (have you seen the posts about using "cleaned up" in parentheticals?).
Here's hoping that 2022 will bring us even more to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!