The Green Bag recently released its list of 2012 legal writing honorees. The complete list can be found at the Green Bag website.
Two of my favorites from this year’s list made the Miscellany subcategory.
The first is probably the nicest cease and desist letter ever written, courtesy of the folks at Jack Daniels. A copy can be found here. I think I’m probably partial to this one because I grew up in Jack Daniels’ back yard and the company always has had a reputation for taking care of its employees and the surrounding community. To me, this letter epitomizes life in the small, southern town in which I grew up.* As my grandmother always said, it’s easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar.**
The second is the much-discussed "cartoon brief" filed by Bob Kohn in the U.S. v. Apple, Inc. case. This brief is brilliant, in my opinion, for several reasons—(1) it catches the reader’s attention; (2) it's “written” in an easy-to-read style; and (3) it complies with the court’s 5 page limit for amicus briefs.
It’s important to point out, however, that Mr. Kohn filed his brief on behalf of himself and, therefore, had license to make it as quirky as he desired. I can’t imagine either being able to talk a paying client into filing a cartoon brief or being able to explain to my malpractice insurance carrier why I thought a cartoon brief was a good idea.
* Interestingly enough, though, it was written by a lawyer out of Los Angeles.
** For those wondering, the letter worked without further action by Jack Daniels.