Lighten Up: John Roberts the Brief-Writer

Written by Ross Guberman on June 16, 2021

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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 conveys confidence.

Random lawyer:

However, the EPA cannot claim that ADEC’s decision was “unreasoned.” In addition, the EPA cannot assert that ADEC’s determination in any way results in emissions exceeding national standards or permitted increments.

Roberts:

But the EPA cannot claim that ADEC’s decision was “unreasoned.” Nor can the EPA assert that ADEC’s determination in any way results in emissions exceeding national standards or permitted increments.

(Petitioner’s Brief, Alaska v. EPA)


Random lawyer:

Accordingly, the Act is directed at entities that do not themselves transact business in Maine, and it effectively changes the terms of transactions between manufacturers and wholesalers that do not occur in Maine.

Roberts:

The Act thus is directed at entities that do not themselves transact business in Maine, and it effectively changes the terms of transactions between manufacturers and wholesalers that do not occur in Maine.

(Amicus Brief for U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America v. Concannon)


Random lawyer:

Substituting one decisionmaker for another may yield a different result, but not in any sense a more “correct” one. In like manner, in the instant case . . . .

Roberts:

Substituting one decisionmaker for another may yield a different result, but not in any sense a more “correct” one. So too here.

(Petitioner’s Brief, Alaska v. EPA)


Random lawyer:

As a result of the fact that SSA would continue to carry out those responsibilities after October 1, 1993, Congress not surprisingly provided that the appropriation would remain available “until expended.”

Roberts:

Because SSA would continue to carry out those responsibilities after October 1, 1993, Congress not surprisingly provided that the appropriation would remain available “until expended.”

(Respondents’ Brief, Barnhart v. Peabody Coal Company)


Random lawyer:

Additionally, ASORA is excessive because it operates to infringe upon fundamental liberties of persons convicted of a sex offense who pose no threat whatsoever to the public.

Roberts:

The ASORA is also excessive because it operates to infringe upon fundamental liberties of persons convicted of a sex offense who pose no threat whatsoever to the public.

(Respondents’ Brief, Godfrey v. Doe)


Random lawyer:

In addition, the agreement provides for a committee of local Inupiat elders to oversee mining operations.

Roberts:

The agreement also provides for a committee of local Inupiat elders to oversee mining operations.

(Petitioner’s Brief, Alaska v. EPA)

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Ross Guberman

Ross Guberman is the president of Legal Writing Pro LLC and the founder of BriefCatch LLC. From Alaska and Hawaii to Paris and Hong Kong, Ross has conducted thousands of workshops on three continents for prominent law firms, judges, agencies, corporations, and associations. His workshops are among the highest rated in the world of professional legal education.

1 Comment

  1. Paul on June 19, 2021 at 12:17 am

    This is a marvelously useful and easy to understand and implement lesson. Thank you for it!

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