Friday Funnies: Brevity Is Beautiful (Especially When It Rhymes)

Lawyers are infamous for being too wordy.  If you ever hear a lawyer say, “Just one more point,” this is attorney-speak for, “Just 20 more points.”  And I’m not pointing fingers, I’m a guilty party, too.  But there are limits.  And, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, federal Judge Ronald Leighton felt that the limit had been reached when he received a 465-page complaint in a racketeering lawsuit. Judge Leighton (limerick)

You may ask, just how does a document become so voluminous.  Well, for starters, the title of the document is eight pages long.  That is followed by eighteen pages in which the plaintiff identified six defendants.  Apparently unimpressed with what the judge described as an “odyssey,” he ordered the plaintiff to re-file, relying on the procedural rule (Rule 8(a)), that a complaint should contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”

What’s more is the way the judge responded.  Writing that brevity, in addition to being the soul of wit, is the soul of a pleading.  He even gives a fine example of brevity and wit.  From the court’s four-page order comes the following limerick:


Plaintiff has a great deal to say,
But it seems he skipped Rule 8(a).
His Complaint is too long,
Which renders it wrong,
Please rewrite and refile today.

Everything sounds better if it rhymes.  Have a great Friday and an even better weekend!

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