Legal Research,  Legal Writing

Footnote Guidance

Footnotes. Some people love ’em, and some people hate ’em.

And if you don’t know which way the judges deciding your appeal lean on the issue, and you can’t resist using footnotes, you’ll want to at least use them “correctly” — if there is such a thing.

In this post at the (new) legal writer, New Orleans appellate attorney Raymond Ward notes an article by The John Marshall Law School’s Prof. William B.T. Mock, Jr. entitled When a Rose Isn’t ‘Arose’ Isn’t Arroz: A Student Guide to Footnoting for Informational Clarity and Scholarly Discourse, which, according to Ward, divides footnotes into three types and describes the appropriate use of each type.

This is Ward’s second alert to a footnote article in as many months. Last September, he described another professor’s take on footnotes somewhat differently, going so far as to say the author found non-citation based footnotes — that is, footnotes containing anything other than citations to authority — to be “useless.”

Like I said: some people love ’em, and some people hate ’em. I think those two groups probably break down along these lines: Writers love ’em, readers hate ’em.

The articles Ward references are posted at Social Science Research Network. Links to the articles are provided in the respective posts at the (new) legal writer mentioned above.