ABA Journal

Legal Writing

377 ABA Journal Legal Writing articles.

SCOTUS faces ‘a catastrophic loss of institutional legitimacy,’ warns author

In his new book, The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America, Michael Waldman identifies three times that the U.S. Supreme Court caused a public backlash against itself—and warns that the court may be well along the path to a fourth massive public backlash.

Is the word ‘alien’ objectionable? Federal appeals judge sees ‘no need to bowdlerize’ decisions and laws

A federal appeals judge who announced plans to boycott Yale Law School students for clerkships is taking aim at his colleagues for using the word “noncitizen” instead of “alien."

Judge finds out why brief cited nonexistent cases—ChatGPT did research

A federal judge in New York City has ordered two lawyers and their law firm to show cause why they shouldn’t be sanctioned for submitting a brief with citations to fake cases, thanks to research by ChatGPT.

Justice Stevens’ papers let researchers peek into Supreme Court’s inner workings

According to case files in the 741 manuscript boxes full of Justice John Paul Stevens’ papers newly opened to the public this month by the Library of Congress, Stevens had to take some extra strokes to preserve his tentative 7-2 majority in PGA Tour v. Martin and to keep it from being saddled with concurrences.

Is qualified immunity based on scrivener’s error? Law review article makes case

Scholars and courts have overlooked what could be a scrivener’s error that changes the text of the law that permits lawsuits against state and local government officials for constitutional violations, according to a February law review article.

End of the Cold War launched new efforts to build the rule of law

When the Berlin Wall fell Nov. 9, 1989, James Silkenat was serving his term as chair of the ABA International Law Section. But he is the first to admit that he did not immediately anticipate what changes that it would spark.

Sotomayor and Gorsuch didn’t recuse in cert denials involving their publisher

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch failed to recuse themselves when considering cert petitions involving the publisher of their books, Penguin Random House.

Lawyer explores English family’s ties to Nazi Germany in ‘The Mitford Affair’

When it comes to taking on stories about larger-than-life women, lawyer and author Heather Terrell, who writes under the pen name Marie Benedict, has a long track record.

Federal judge’s ‘rubberstamp’ orders repeat strings of citations with no specifics, 9th Circuit dissenter says

A defendant should get a new chance to argue that his confession was coerced after the trial judge failed to discuss specifics in a “boilerplate order” that adopted a magistrate judge’s report, according to a federal appeals judge’s partial dissent.

Bankruptcy judge’s novels appear to be based on me, litigant says in seeking her removal

The former CEO of Highland Capital Management is seeking the recusal of a bankruptcy judge on the ground that she has written two novels that “roundly criticize” the financial industry and include an “evildoer” character who appears to be based on him.

Retired patent attorney who helped nab ‘Golden State Killer’ recounts her remarkable journey

In September 1998, a landscape worker clearing brush near I-85 in Mebane, North Carolina, came upon the skeletal remains of an unidentified child under a towering Howard Johnson’s sign. Despite law enforcement efforts, the youth remained nameless for two decades. He was simply known as “the Boy Under the Billboard.”

Was the first English-language dictionary penned by a legal lexicographer?

The contender for the distinction is John Rastell (circa 1475–1536), who is commonly credited with having written the first English law dictionary. Yet he might just deserve credit for producing the first dictionary in the English language. Though early editions are undated, the first printing is thought to have appeared in 1523.

Law and politics comingle in DC insider’s memoir

After decades as a legal insider and observer of some of the most consequential moments in modern U.S. history, James Hamilton retired from law and picked up his pen. In his new memoir, Advocate, Hamilton shares fascinating tales of the power brokers and politicians who helped steer the course of the country.

How Casetext utilized the latest GPT technology to create an AI legal assistant

The CEO and co-founder of Casetext talks about its AI legal assistant CoCounsel, as well as the potential of advanced chatbots to change the legal industry.

In ‘Her Honor,’ trailblazing women judges take center stage

When Lauren Stiller Rikleen was approached in 2020 by the ABA Judicial Division to help compile autobiographical stories from women judges in America, a powerful motivating factor for her was to capture stories of the barriers that the judges overcame in their words.

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