A quick note on the readability of legal writing

An egregious string citation brought to my attention by the Litigation and Trial blog

Forget string citations, even interstitial citations must die

In my last post, on City of Milwaukee v. Illinois, I couldn't find a good clean copy of the case online. I copied the text from an html version of the case and pasted it into pages. I then fixed the footnote formatting and made all the case citations light grey to isolate the thread of the court's writing. I found that making the citations harder to see and easier to skip over improved the readability of the case dramatically.

Grey is good, but consigning case citations to the footnotes would be better. We need the information case citations contain, but why should we allow it to hack up our sentences? Please lawyers, can't we move case citations to foot notes so we can follow the persuasiveness of our writing better? Take a look at the pdf of the file I shared, see if you don't like it better.


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