Legal Writing

If It was Good Enough for the Framers . . .

The Philadelphia Convention, 1787Image from Wikipedia

Ray Ward posted several months ago that starting a sentence with a conjunction is okay in an appellate brief. I wholeheartedly agree. I think it can make a sentence more powerful.

Ward justifies the practice in part because the Unites States Constitution includes sentences starting with conjunctions and concludes, “So if it’s good enough for the U.S. Constitution, it’s good enough for that brief you’re working on.”

But don’t take that logic too far. One of the constitutional excerpts Ward provides is Article II, section 1: “And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each…. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States…. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.” I would never advocate to the appellate court that it should “chuse” my position!