Good Appellate Writing is Not Stuffy or Formalistic

I love Kendall Gray’s piece on Brevity and the use of conjunctions to start sentences. I, too, learned never to begin a sentence with But or And. It seemed like good advice at the time. But now I have learned that it is not a law of physics.

He quotes Professor Wayne Scheiss, who presented at a CLE in Texas, who recommended “that in place of however, on the contrary, on the other hand, and the like, you try but and yet without a comma afterward.”

Holy cow! That’s kooky talk. But it’s actually quite liberating. Mr Gray notes:

After attending that conference ,therefore, I no longer have to write in this tortured syntax where formal, introductory clauses are inserted and set off with commas or even semicolons in order to guard against preparatory conjunctions, which are something up with which we will not put.

With this blog, I am now retiring my use of the phrase, “to be sure.” I usually resort to “to be sure,” because I get sick of all the other clauses in a brief. And I won’t miss it one bit.

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