Use quotation marks only for quotation marks – if the language is particularly strong or needs to be precise. In contrast, indirect quotes summarize or report what someone said. 8. When incorporating quoted material into your own sentence, make sure the result is a grammatically correct sentence. If you add someone else`s words to your own to form a sentence, the combined product should be grammatically correct. To determine if the sentence is grammatically correct, briefly ignore the quotation marks and ask yourself if the sentence would be correct if all the words were yours. Otherwise, you`ll either have to rewrite the part of the sentence you created, or delete the quoted material and use a paraphrase. Instead, I`ll address a formal introduction to a quote. The technique also works for block quotation marks. We all know that readers often skip quotation marks. According to Mark Hermann, author of The Curmudgeon`s Guide to Practice Law, “you have to get the judge to learn the contents of the subpoena en bloc.”  He recommends summarizing the content of the quote in the introductory sentence.
And Bryan Garner gives similar advice in The Winning Brief: “Give an informative and catchy introduction to each block quote.”  A paraphrase is the expression of someone else`s ideas in one`s own words. You can paraphrase existing material as long as you provide a correct quote after paraphrasing. You should not put documents paraphrased in quotation marks. The quote indicates that the ideas come from another source; The absence of quotation marks indicates that the words chosen to express these ideas are your own. Well-paraphrased material will change the majority of the keywords in the original source. If your paraphrase preserves words of particular meaning from the original source, place only those words in quotation marks. Finally, one of the most common proofreading errors I see is an open quotation mark without its end partner. You should also be careful when placing other punctuation marks at the end of quotation marks. Commas and periods are always enclosed in quotation marks: Instead, introduce the quote by claiming a point that the quote will reach as follows: 9. Avoid introducing quotations with a colon. Using a colon to introduce a quote is only appropriate if the words following the colon are truly meaningful. Instead, try incorporating part of the quote into its own sentence.
(See point two of this section.) But first, two caveats: (1) legal writing requires conscientious honesty and care in quoting; Intentionally or accidentally, misquoting a source hurts your credibility. (2) Legal drafters should avoid overquoting; Use quotes for important legal language or to reach an important point. If not, paraphrase. A common and traditional way to introduce a quote is to use an introductory statement and colon like this: inertia, incompetence, status, power, cost and risk are an impressive set of motivations for keeping a legal language. Their tenacity should not be underestimated. However, one remark is in order. These motivations have no intellectually or socially acceptable justification; They amount to claims of naked self-interest. Robert W. Benson, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School Ask readers to read your quotes, not to skip them, but to stay out of the quotation marks if they are part of your own sentence: But do not give it to a law clerk, because they are using a legal hand that Satan himself will not understand.
Cervantes The introduction claims a point and, to some extent, summarizes the following quote. With this technique, according to Herrmann and Garner, you get two payments. First, readers can read the block: the assertive tone of the introduction prompts them to read the quote to see if you`re right. Second, even if readers skip the block, they still get the most important content. It is not surprising that the authors of these famous words are Justices Harlan, Holmes and Brandeis. Along with Justice 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. And this post is not about incorporating a quote into your own sentence, like these examples: the common language of law is not the product of necessity, precedent, convention, or economics, but it is the product of inertia, confusion, haste, cowardice, ignorance, neglect, and cultural poverty. Judge Lynn N. Hughes, United States District Court, Houston, Texas The rules for using other punctuation marks in quotation marks are fairly simple. If you introduce a quote with a sentence such as “He said,” “Protocol says,” or “As Justice Scalia wrote,” you must use a comma before the quotation marks: 3. Quote words with a particular meaning or eloquence.
From time to time, we come across a sentence or phrase that is so well written that it would be almost criminal to paraphrase it. Other sentences may have become part of the tradition of legal writing, and to the informed 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 in the context of a brief or brief being prepared for a court. Sometimes we would lose the effectiveness of the quote if it did not remain autonomous. In this case, the general rule against freestanding quotes should be ignored. Here are a few examples. Most legal texts are horrible. Fred Rodell, dean of Yale Law School, before most of us were born, was right when he said, “There are two things wrong with most legal writing. One is his style. The other is its content.
It was in a fascinating article, Goodbye to Law Reviews, which should be classified as a reading for all law students. Judge Mark P. Painter, Legal Writing 201 Quotation marks set the stage for quoted or spoken language. Here are some guidelines for use: If a question is part of the citation, the question mark must be enclosed in quotation marks. Otherwise, it stays outside. 4. Don`t use quotation marks around artistic terms. An art term is an expression 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 a meaning familiar to anyone practicing in the fields where they are used. You don`t need to put quotation marks around an artistic term, nor do you need to cite a source, although you may want to include a quote to support the point you`re making. Here are a few examples.
Legal writers often have to use quotations in persuasive documents. Citing a reliable source lends credibility to your claims and can free the reader from independently verifying a source. In this article, I will discuss a technique for formally introducing quotes that can increase persuasion and invite readers to read the quote – not skip it. 1. Be careful not to quote excessively; Paraphrase whenever possible. New law students sometimes mistakenly believe that they should always quote the words of a judge. After all, according to the reasoning, the judge must know how best to express the law.