Future lawyers spend three years in law school learning how to read and write legalese, but what serious geek has that kind of time to spare? This series will cover the basics of Legal; by the end of it, you should be ready to pick up a legal brief and know what's going on and how to find out more.
To keep things close to reality, we'll use as a case study a particularly important piece of recent legal writing: the good guys' brief in Eldred v. Ashcroft (ed. Link is a PDF file)) . We'll walk through the brief, seeing how the conventions of legal writing interact with the arguments Lessig and company are making.
In this first installment, we'll look at the front matter of the brief: all the boilerplate and technicalities needed to set the scene for the argument itself. We'll go over some Supreme Court procedure, learn a bit about the federal court system, and find out what those strange strings of numbers in the middle of otherwise normal sentences mean. (continues inside . . .) [Privacy Digest]