Judicial opinions that entertain

As it is taught in law school, legal analysis and writing does not allow for a great deal of creativity from young lawyers.  Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion ("IRAC") is the modern roadmap and veering off the prescribed path is generally frowned upon for fear of appearing glib, insincere, or offensive. The court's opinion of our arguments and analyses ultimately carries the day, so lawyers are rightfully hesitant to do anything other than present those arguments clearly and concisely -- or as a former writing professor always reminded us, "keep it simple, stupid." It is perhaps as a result of these limitations on legal practice that when lawyers ascend to the bench, they find freedom to introduce creativity and levity into their judicial opinions.


  1. For a funny footnote in a Maryland case, referencing The Pretenders, see Crosby v. State, 408 Md. 490

  2. Seems like a footnote or two from Judge Reinhardt’s recent dissent in Newdow deserves a mention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *