Report from the Pepperdine Conference on Judicial Opinion Writing

Pepperdine hosted a conference Wednesday on the craft of judicial opinion writing, with a panel that included Justice Samuel Alito. LA appellate attorney Ben Shatz attended and today posts his write-up of the event at the Los Angeles County Bar Association Blog, En Banc. His post is worth a read, especially if you wish you had been there.

Two things jumped out at me from Ben’s report.

First: Where were all the lawyers? Ben notes that the auditorium didn’t exactly look empty, but wasn’t close to capacity, either, and he wonders if Justice Alito is unpopular with the bar.

Second: Tenth Circuit Judge Michael McConnell gave some praise to the legal blogosphere (emphasis added):

Judge McConnell lamented that legal academics are often too political and ideological in their analysis of opinions. The first question should always be “is the opinion well grounded,” not a focus on the result. Politicians and practicing lawyers need to focus on results, but law professors shouldn’t. Blogs are beginning to provide appropriate critiques of judicial opinions, especially in certain substantive areas. Indeed, blogs are often the best (or only) feedback he gets on opinions, and thus he views them as a favorable and welcome development.

So different than what Judge Kozinski had to say about blogs, though that was some time ago.

UPDATE (8/7/08): Video of the conference here.  (Hat tip: Crime & Federalism.)

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