Legal Writing

A Good Start

Good briefs frequently start with a statement that in itself “hooks” the reader by immediately arousing his interest and making him want to continue. The same goes for judicial opinions, I think.

Chief Judge Kozinski accomplished that with his single-sentence opening paragraph in New Hampshire Ins. Co. v. C’est Moi, Inc., case no. 06-55031 (9th Cir. Mar. 20, 2008): “We consider the doctrine that’s on everyone’s lips: uberrimae fidei.”

Made me read the rest of it, anyway.

UPDATE (3/20/08): Professor Martin points out that this is the second published decision from the Ninth on the uberrimae fidei doctrine in just six weeks, so maybe that opening line was not only humorous, but factually correct.