BriefCatch Blog

Writing Tips & Legal Writing Articles

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Scarlet Johansson v. Disney: What’s at Stake?

By Ross Guberman / August 1, 2021 /

Why is Johansson suing Disney? For allegedly interfering in her Black Widow contract with Marvel Studios, a Disney subsidiary. Johansson claims that Disney rushed to release Black Widow on its streaming service to grow the Disney+ subscriber base and to devalue her interest in the film’s profits. What does her Black Widow contract say about…

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BriefCatch Terms of Use

By Ross Guberman / July 21, 2021 /

Last updated April 3, 2021 Terms of Service Please read these Terms of Service (“Terms”) carefully before using the https://briefcatch.com/ website or the BriefCatch branded plug-in (collectively, “BriefCatch™”) operated by BriefCatch LLC. Your access to and use of BriefCatch™ is conditioned on your acceptance of and compliance with these Terms. These Terms apply to all…

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BriefCatch End User License Agreement

By Ross Guberman / July 21, 2021 /

Last updated April 3, 2021 END-USER LICENSE AGREEMENT This End-User License Agreement (this “Agreement”) is between BriefCatch, LLC (“Vendor”) and you (“Customer”). RECITALS Vendor provides a software application known as BriefCatch™ (the “Software”), and the parties have agreed that Vendor will provide the Software to Customer and also provide maintenance services related to the Software.…

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Writing About Testimony: Is There a World Beyond “The Witness Further Stated”?

By Ross Guberman / July 20, 2021 /

Many lawyers find themselves retelling—or regurgitating—testimony from fact witnesses, expert witnesses, or both. The default mode is often as painful to write as it is to read. A witness “stated that.” And then, in the next sentence, the witness “further stated that.” If the writer is feeling feisty, a few sentences later, the witness no…

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Lighten Up: John Roberts the Brief-Writer

By Ross Guberman / June 16, 2021 /

An easy way to make your brief-writing more appealing? Shun deadweight openers—however, additionally, consequently, accordingly. That technique has worked wonders for the Chief Justice, who Justice Ginsburg once said was the greatest appellate advocate of his generation. Back in his brief-writing days, he showed how a lighter touch—thus, so, but, also—propels the reader forward and…

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Kagan and Kavanaugh Unite: Stop Cutting “That”!

By Ross Guberman / June 11, 2021 /

Kagan and Kavanaugh disagree on a lot these days, including in their Borden v. United States face-off. These two prominent Justices do share supreme writing skills, though. Like all great stylists, they trim their respective sentences with gusto, but as I’ve explained elsewhere, follow the lead of these Justices by sparing the word that after…

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Hyphen Nation

By Ross Guberman / June 5, 2021 /
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Three Justices. Three 100s. Three Tips.

By Ross Guberman / May 20, 2021 /

A single day at the Supreme Court generated three perfect composite BriefCatch scores. What can the rest of us borrow or steal? From Justice Kagan, how to punch up your prose by starting a series of sentences with one-syllable words. From Justice Gorsuch, how to start your brief or opinion by juxtaposing what a case…

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Adverbs on Trial: Guilty, Innocent, or It Depends?

By Ross Guberman / May 13, 2021 /

Several years ago, a Wall Street Journal legal columnist put adverbs on trial. Witnesses for the prosecution: Stephen King (“The adverb is not your friend,” says he), a host of anti-adverb judges, and legions of legal writing teachers. Witnesses for the defense: famed adverb fan Justice Scalia, an academic “legal anthropologist,” and the author of…

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Preliminary Statements and Introductions: Checklists and Models

By Ross Guberman / May 4, 2021 /

Craft a concise, effective, and persuasive introduction in little time by looking at your dispute through these four lenses: The Narrative Lens. Begin with a paragraph or two that covers what many attorneys never explain at all: who the parties are; when, where, and how the dispute arose; what question the dispute is over and…

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