When, IF EVER, is OUTRAGE appropriately expressed in legal writing???
When should lawyers use bold italics for emphasis (or for anything?)???
ALLCAPS??? Multiple punctuation marks??? Other colloquial expressions or punctuation? 😉 (!?) OMG LOL
We recently praised the reply brief of Faegre Baker Daniels lawyers in the Sorin Group v. St. Jude Medical as “strong advocacy” but we could not help but notice the heavy use of bold-face type in the brief.
It seems a bit much.
Most judges approach their work with cool deliberation. Some judges will consider direct appeal to emotion to be manipulative and a form of interference rather than assistance as they confront complex legal analysis. Trying to stir courts’ passion or outrage, therefore, can be a high stakes gambit. And use of bold face type to draw attention to key points seems a little patronizing, does it not? Is it saying to the reader: “DUDE: Wake up! I really mean this! Seriously, c’mon. YO!”
On the other hand, there is no doubt that the sparing use of florid rhetoric, a glimpse of linguistic intensity, might penetrate a reader’s mind in ways that dry exegeses can never do. Consider intensity or passion in legal writing like an intense spice. A little bit will add the critical zing. Too much will disgust.