I will continue with my report from the AAAL front anon, but first, responding to some communications from my loyal readers, yes, Judge Posner really said these things (last entry).
Keeping on this theme of cranky judges who have been on the bench for a while, here's a recent concurrence from Senior Circuit Judge Silberman in a DC appeal [Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. FERC, No. 13-1015]:
Petitioner’s brief, unfortunately, was laden with obscure acronyms notwithstanding the admonitions in our handbook (and on our website) to avoid uncommon acronyms. Since the brief was signed by a faculty member at Columbia Law School, that was rather dismaying both because of ignorance of our standards and because the practice constitutes lousy brief writing.
The use of obscure acronyms, sometimes those made up for a particular case, is an aggravating development of the last twenty years. Even with a glossary, a judge finds himself or herself constantly looking back to recall what an acronym means. Perhaps not surprisingly, we never see that in a brief filed by well-skilled appellate specialists. It has been almost a marker, dividing the better lawyers from the rest.
We have recently been rejecting briefs that do not adhere to our instructions, and counsel should be warned that if a brief is rejected and has to be rewritten, they will not be able to alter the word limits.
So folks, for no SNAFUs, read your rules ASAP.