November 30, 2003

Exam Tips from Posner

Posner's responses (see below) to Howard's questions are accessible.

So really, he was talking about written briefs, not exams. But it struck me that if I could keep them in mind while writing my exams, I'd be much better off.

My advice for lawyers practicing before me and my colleagues is threefold:

  • always explain the purpose of a rule that you want us to apply in your favor, because the purpose of a rule delimits its scope and guides its application;
  • always give us practical reasons for the result you are seeking; and
  • don't overestimate the knowledge that an appellate judge brings to your case, because we have very little time to prepare for argument in depth, and the breadth of jurisdiction of the federal courts is such that we cannot possibly be experts in all or most of the fields out of which appeals arise.

I shall try.


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