When writing an introduction for a block quote, ask yourself, “Why do I want to use this quote? What relevance does it have? How does this support my argument and undermine my opponent`s? Paraphrase/summary desirable with only keywords cited: Note that in examples three and five above, parentheses are added around the article “a”. That`s because it would be inappropriate to use a capital letter there – in the middle of a sentence. Your sentence, even if it contains a quote, must still meet all the rules of a traditional sentence. The parentheses tell the reader that you have replaced an uppercase “A” with lowercase letters. 1. Be careful not to quote excessively; paraphrase whenever possible. New law students sometimes mistakenly believe that they should always quote a judge`s words. After all, so the reasoning, the judge must know how best to express the law. However, excessive citation is a poor substitute for analysis.

Your job as a lawyer is to analyze precedents, not just repeat them. Therefore, your writing should explain to your reader why and how a precedent is important to your client. You cannot perform this important interpretative function by stringing only quotation marks. In addition, the sequence of citations of cases and secondary sources tends to result in a jerky and inconsistent text. It`s usually best to use your own words so that the text you write has a logical progression and consistent style from sentence to sentence. 8. If you incorporate quoted material into your own sentence, make sure that the result is a grammatically correct sentence. If you add someone else`s words to yours to create a sentence, the combined product must be grammatically correct. When determining if the sentence is grammatically correct, temporarily skip the quotation marks and ask yourself if the sentence would be correct if all the words were your own.

Otherwise, you will either have to rewrite the part of the sentence you created, or delete the cited material and use a paraphrase. 7. Use a comma after “said”, “explained”, “proclaimed” and similar terms when introducing a quote. In other cases, add the word “that” and don`t use a comma. It is sometimes difficult, as with the word “held” in the second example below, to determine whether it is acceptable to use an introductory term with a comma (e.g., “says”) instead of an introductory term with the word “that” (e.g., “writes that”). In case of doubt, use the latter option (judged that, written that, found that, came to the conclusion that). This is the most used option. 6. If you need to use block quotes, be sure to use indentation and single space. Quotes of 50 or more words should be indented about half an inch on the left and right edges. They must be entered in single-space format, and the quote for the quote must be placed two lines lower from the end of the quote and at the original left margin.

Do not enclose such a quote in quotation marks: the reader will know that it is a quotation because you have indented it. However, if there are quotation marks in the blocked quote, use quotation marks around those internal quotation marks. Here`s an example of a properly blocked citation of 50 words or more. 9. Avoid introducing quotation marks with colons. Using a colon to introduce a quote is only appropriate if the words following the colon are really meaningful. Instead, try incorporating some of the quote into your own sentence. (See point two in this section.) But before you throw a quote on the page that is so long that it requires indentation, be sure to give it a memorable introduction that explains why the next section of text is important. Link the offer to your case; Tell the reader why they should plough it.

Here is an example of a strong introduction, followed by a convincing block quote from a memoir deposited in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, as by Ross Guberman in Point Made, 2nd ed. (2014): “It is repugnant not to have a better reason for the rule of law than that which was established in the time of Henry IV. It is even more repugnant when the reasons why it was established are long gone and the rule persists simply by blind imitation of the past. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Way of the Law, 10 Harv. L. Rev. 457, 469 (1897), cited in Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S.

186, 199 (1986) (Blackmun, J., deviant). 5. Try to avoid using quotation marks of 50 words or more. Many readers skip quotes en bloc because they are looking for explanations of the law and not just accentuation. Don`t use bulk quotes unless (i) there`s simply no other way to write what you want to convey (extremely rare) or (ii) the words are so eloquent that a paraphrase would seriously undermine the persuasive power of your text. The effective lawyer resists, as Guberman points out, the urge to introduce the quote with the lame words: “As the court so aptly put it.” Also note that the use of an ellipse indicates that the author only used the core of the citation. 4. Don`t use quotation marks around artistic terms. An art concept is a phrase that has become so well accepted and ubiquitous in a particular field that it is no longer considered the property of its original author. These terms also have meanings that are familiar to anyone practicing in the areas where they are used. You don`t need to put an artistic term in quotation marks, or cite a source, although you may want to include a quote to reinforce the point you`re making.

Here are some examples. Remember: The starting point is your claim. The quote is his support. 2. When quoting, avoid standalone offers. As a general rule, when quoting, it is better to incorporate this quote into your own sentence rather than quoting an entire sentence from a case. Consider the following. 3. Quote words of particular meaning or eloquence.

From time to time, you come across a sentence or sentence that is so well written that it would almost be criminal to paraphrase it. Other sentences may have become part of the tradition of legal writing, and to the discerning reader, a paraphrase would seem silly. These phrases are rare, but if you find them, feel free to quote them. They can be particularly effective when a memorandum or brief is prepared for a court. Sometimes the effectiveness of the quotation would be lost unless it was left autonomous. In this case, the general rule against autonomous quotations should be disregarded. Here are some examples. Sometimes you may need to quote four or more lines (50 words or more) of text from a major source, such as if the exact wording relates to a particular statute or regulation. And from time to time, a court makes such a perfect – and appropriate – point to your argument that presenting the statement word for word gives a powerful impact to the words you used to make your claim. Explanation: The second example is more desirable because it makes the background point with much fewer words. In addition, an over-reliance on citations from older sources can lead to text that seems archaic. As legal expert Bryan Garner wrote in The Winning Brief, 3d ed.

(2014), there are four reasons why you should say in advance “what the quote does for you”: It`s no surprise that the authors of these famous words are Justices Harlan, Holmes, and Brandeis. Along with Judge Cardozo, Chief Justice Marshall and perhaps a few others, they are considered the legends of American legal history. In persuasive writing, it never hurts to quote a legend. Make it a habit to indicate the result of a quote in the sentence before it. Writing good lead-ins is a practical way to strengthen your prose and increase your credibility in court. Note that Justice Brennan used the abbreviation “Sec.” in the statement above. Justice Brennan is considered one of the great judges of the century; Here, however, he should have spelled the word “section.” (See the section of this text on abbreviations.) Avoid lazy introductions that do not lead to anything, as in “The Court ruled the following” or “The witness testified as follows”. Speaking to Justice Story, its leading expert on maritime law, the court upheld the Circuit Court`s ruling that owners` liability for agents` free shares does not extend to punitive damages: Attorney Savannah Blackwell is a former journalist who has covered government and politics for more than a decade, mainly in San Francisco.

It is accessible under savannah.blackwell@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SavannahBinSF Right: The Supreme Court said, “One of the functions of free speech in our system of government is to invite disputes. In fact, it can better serve its noble purpose when it causes a state of turmoil, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even angers people. “Terminello against.