Sept. 6, 2017 – Until you are a U.S. Supreme Court justice, it's a good idea, when writing briefs or other court documents, to keep tight control over the words that you use, advises Stephanie Melnick.
Melnick, of Melnick & Melnick in Mequon, will discuss “Ten Lessons for More Effective Legal Writing” at the 2017 Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference, at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells on Oct. 26-28.
Her CLE session, at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, will help you make your contracts, briefs, and emails clearer, more compelling, and concise.
Melnick is offering ten lessons for better legal writing – with examples taken from the founding fathers, civil rights activists, and U.S. Supreme Court justices.
The lessons include examples of what not to do – such as this one from Justice Antonin Scalia in 2001:
"We Justices must confront what is indeed an awesome responsibility. It has been rendered the solemn duty of the Supreme Court of the United States ... to decide What Is Golf. I am sure that the Framers of the Constitution ... fully expected that sooner or later the paths of golf and government, the law and the links, would once again cross, and that the judges of this august Court would some day have to wrestle with that age-old jurisprudential question, for which their years of study in the law have so well prepared them: Is someone riding around a golf course from shot to shot really a golfer? Either out of humility or out of self-respect (one or the other) the Court should decline to answer this incredibly difficult and incredibly silly question." PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin,1 532 U.S. 661,700 (2001) (Scalia, J. dissenting).
“A sarcastic or derogatory tone undercuts a valid legal argument,” Melnick said.
Her advice: Use a measured tone – unless you are a U.S. Supreme Court justice, that is.
Writing Tips – and Much More
The Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference helps you face unique challenges in your practice every day – from having to stay on top of changes (often to multiple practice areas) to running the business side of your firm.
Short on Funds But Still Want to Attend? Apply for a Scholarship by September 18
The State Bar’s Solo/Small Firm & General Practice Section is offering a limited number of scholarships to WSSFC. The scholarships cover the cost of conference tuition. Recipients are responsible for travel and lodging costs.
All solo and small-firm attorneys are eligible to apply, but preference will be given to those who would otherwise be unable to attend the conference due to financial constraints.
WSSFC scholarship recipients are expected to “pay it forward” through volunteer service. That service can take the form of assisting with WSSFC planning or serving on either the Solo/Small Firm & General Practice Section board or a board subcommittee.
Scholarship applications are due September 18 and can be sent to Terry Dunst. Recipients will be notified by Sept. 20.
The conference is a chance to learn from fellow attorneys, share your successes and setbacks, swap stories, and establish referral relationships. Visit exhibitors at the Legal Expo for tools, services, and ideas to keep your practice thriving. Learn strategies for feeling better, working smarter, and reducing stress. And charge your devices and receive one-on-one help with your tech questions and problems at the Practice411™ Tech Lounge.
Take the time to relax and unwind at the reception on Thursday evening. And make new and valuable connections by signing up for a dine-around with a conference speaker or planning committee member at a Wisconsin Dells restaurant.
Earn Up to 15.5 Credits – and Up to 8 More Via Webcasts After the Conference
Choose from CLE topics you won’t find anywhere else as you learn essential strategies and time-tested techniques for propelling yourself to success. Experience three days of CLE, plus access to recorded sessions after the conference ends.
Earn up to 15.5 credits, as well as up to 9.5 EPR credits.
New this year, the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners grants credit for lawyer awareness and understanding (LAU) and law practice management (LPM) credit. Choose from 15 different sessions to earn up to 6.0 LPM credits and up to 3.5 LAU credits.
For more information on LAU and LPM credits, see the Notice on wicourts.gov.
As a special bonus, attendees will have the opportunity after the conference to watch webcasts of selected programs recorded at the conference – earning up to 8.0 additional credits at no extra charge.
Register by Oct. 4 for the Best Rates
Register by Oct. 4 to save up to $50 off the standard registration tuition of $349. First-time registrant? Take another $50 off your tuition, no matter when you register.
Become an Ultimate Pass Gold subscriber and get free tuition, or use the Ultimate Pass Silver, which gives you 50-percent off tuition.
Register on WisBar’s Marketplace (credit card or Ultimate Pass only)
Phone: (800) 728-7788 (credit card or Ultimate Pass only)
Fax: (608) 250-6020 (credit card or Ultimate Pass only)
Mail: State Bar PINNACLE Registrations, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158 (check, credit card, passbooks, or Ultimate Pass)
At the Kalahari Resort – Reserve Your Room by Sept. 25
Bring your family for a mini-vacation at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells. Ideally located in the heart of Wisconsin, the Kalahari Resort features a 27-hole golf club, spa, dining, retail shopping, movie theater, and waterparks.
To reserve your room, call (877) 253-5466. Register by Sept. 25 to receive the special room rates between Oct. 23 and Oct. 31. Be sure to mention that you are with the Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference to receive the special room rates.
If you would like to extend your stay, contact the Kalahari to check on discounted rates before and after the conference. All rooms include water park passes for four people.
1 In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether a professional golfer, unable to walk the course because of a degenerative circulatory disorder, should be allowed to use a golf cart during PGA-sponsored tournaments contrary to the PGA’s “walking rule.” The Supreme Court held that the golfer should be permitted to use a cart based on the plain language of the Americans with Disabilities Act.