Monday, April 10, 2006

Persuasion: literary references

The most common literary references in judicial opinions are to Shakespeare and the Bible. Assuming that judicial opinions are intended to persuade--which can be debated, I know--I then ask, do you find literary references to Shakespeare and the Bible persuasive?

I've asked that question of lawyers in my seminars on many occasions. What do you think they have said?

And what about literary references generally? Do you use them in a brief or motion? Should you? What are the risks and rewards?

For further reading, try Charles Alan Wright, Literary Allusion in Legal Writing: The Haynsworth-Wright Letters, 1 Scribes J. Legal Writing 1 (1990).

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