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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Word-Count Rules and a Certificate of Compliance Form

Don't forget that the new word-count rules for Texas appellate documents go into effect on Saturday. Here is a form Certificate of Compliance suitable for lawyers using the word count functions of their computer software to comply.

(For counsel using the word count of a computer program)
Certificate of Compliance
          I, (name of lawyer, e.g. Bob Mabry), attorney for (party designation, then party name, e.g. defendant John Johnson ) certify that this document was generated by a computer using (the name of computer word-processing program, e.g. Microsoft Word 2007) which indicates that the word count of this document is (document word-count, e.g. 7,499) per Tex. R. App. P. 9.4 (i).

_________________
(name of lawyer, e.g. Bob Mabry)
Note that in calculating the length of document, every word and every part of the document, including headings, footnotes, and quotations, must be counted except the following: caption, identity of parties and counsel, statement regarding oral argument, table of contents, index of authorities, statement of the case, statement of issues presented, statement of jurisdiction, statement of procedural history, signature, proof of service, certification, certificate of compliance, and appendix.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's Good to Know the Law; It's Also Good to Know Your Judge

There is a witty Twitter account called The Times Is On It, which could be about nearly any newspaper, really. It's about how newspapers sometimes make stories about things that practically everybody already knows. It's funnier when the Grey Lady, the most famous newspaper in the world, really a fine newspaper, The New York Times does it, telling a story that displays mastery of the obvious.
The folks at the Twitter account should have a field day with "Judges' Rulings Follow Partisan Lines," about how the political-affiliation backgrounds of federal judges appear to be related to their decisions. The occasion for this piece appears to be a book by Lee Epstein, William M. Landes and our ever-provocative friend Judge Richard A. Posner, which I hope to get to read.
I hope it goes without saying that if you are ever doing an appeal, you should familiarize yourself with the personal, political and occupational background of your panelists. In my experience, the most important help you will glean from knowing a judge's background is to learn what they don't know about, viz., if you have a criminal case, a white-shoe transactional or civil defense lawyer risen to a bench is not likely to be in touch with the practical commonplaces of criminality and law enforcement and criminal justice as a former prosecutor or criminal defense lawyer would. . 

Chief of Texas Governor's Staff Appointed to Finish Unexpired SCOTX Term

Texas Governor Rick Perry appointed his chief of staff Jeff Boyd to finish the unexpired term of State Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright.
Before being chief of staff, he was the governor's general counsel. He was formerly a senior partner at the Austin office of white-shoe law firm of Thompson and Knight LLP, which would make him--as practically all of Perry's judicial appointments are--a business-oriented lawyer, apparently a civil litigation and business regulation attorney. He graduated from Round Rock High School in the now famous central Texas suburb- hometown of Dell Computer. His undergraduate degree is from Church-of-Christ-Campbellite Abilene Christian University; his law degree from similarly faith-affiliated Pepperdine University of Malibu, California. There's no indication that he has ever studied with or worked at close quarters with anyone out of his cultural-and-faith milieu, save that he was a president and board member of Volunteer Legal Services of Texas.
Dale Wainwright, an African-American former Houston-area state district court justice retired from the court to join Bracewell and Giuliani's Austin office, where the honor is less, but the money is much, much better. This will leave the Chief Justice as the only remaining African-American on the nine-member court.
Perry--whose name only has three syllables--chose one of the only people in the state who could possibly have a name shorter than his own. To appoint someone with a shorter name than Boyd's, Perry would have to name Prince to office--if only he would readopt his former name.