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In the Robert Murray v. John Oliver case, the recent decision to remand the case back to state court is making headlines. However, those headlines and articles tend to focus on what's happening, and all the comedic language, rather than the strategy behind it all.

Despite the careful analysis of the court's decision to remand, there is very little about why HBO's attorneys tried to remove the case to federal court.

When it comes to defamation claims, is it better to be in state or federal court?

We've all probably heard the joke about the lawyer that dies, goes up to heaven, and sees St. Peter at the pearly gates. St. Peter looks the lawyer up and down, then says: "There must be some mistake, you look far too young. According to your billable hour log, you should be 172 years old."

Traveling for work can have its perks, unfortunately those perks don't include double billing, or even being able to bill your clients for first class plane tickets. That whole fiduciary duty thing can really put a damper on traveling in style.

Below, you'll find three tips to help lawyer while on the road, rail, or in the friendly skies.

Hell hath no fury like a Florida judge who receives an improperly formatted brief. Luckily for the BigLaw lawyers for Darden Restaurants, the line spacing violation only landed them a scolding and striking, and not a denial, nor sanctions.

The pleading in question here was a motion for summary judgment. Rather than the standard double-spacing required by court rules, the motion had lines spaced at one and a half. Additionally, compounding the matters of form were nearly double the amount of acceptable lines of footnoting (clearly this brief was submitted before the lawyers had a chance to read our post on excessive footnoting).

What Is Excessive Footnoting?

A recent sua sponte striking of a motion is making headlines over the rationale provided from the bench: excessive footnoting. Although footnotes aren't really a good persuasive writing technique (why are you trying to distract your readers?), pleadings all too often contain them, and courts, not trying to be the arbiters of style, allow them.

But now you maybe asking: What exactly constitutes excessive footnoting?

We've all been there before. Caught, like a deer in headlights, with absolutely no knowledge whatsoever about a particular legal concept. So rather than diving into real legal research, we jump on Google to run a basic search. Then, viola! A Wikipedia.com page pops up.

We read it over, surprised with how in-depth the wiki-page went, and how authoritatively it was footnoted. But, relying on Wikipedia for a legal citation, or as the authority for a legal issue, is like going to England for a beach vacation in January. It's technically possible, but also just a really bad idea. Printing up a page from Wikipedia for your client file, or billing a client for Wikipedia research, is definitely something to avoid, or risk being publicly skewered.

Not many lawyers ever actually get to grapple with the great legal conundrum of the Parrot Evidence Rule. Surprisingly, it's somewhat similar to the Parol Evidence Rule, apart from the easy to forget part. But rather than dealing with extrinsic evidence of contract terms, it deals with the unverifiable ramblings of birds that can mimic speech. (Note: this may be the first ever definition, albeit unofficial, of the rule since my fellow FindLaw writer Chris Coble coined it, so strap in, folks).

Recently, a murdered man's parrot has been center stage in the media due to the bird's rather apropos exclamation "Don't f****n shoot!" While the bird never made it to the courtroom, the statement was considered as evidence, just not in court. Notably, commentators are crediting the bird with helping police piece together the murder, but all things considered, that might just be a cute gesture.

Whistleblower cases can present legally fascinating constitutional law actions involving a few different First Amendment issues. When a whistleblower discloses information to the public, or an appropriate agency with oversight, not only are there constitutional protections, there are frequently statutory protections as well.

But what happens when that evidence is illegally obtained, or the disclosure of that evidence violates another law? Will your client's claim survive?

Your legal writing style, believe it or not, matters. Judges, and their clerks, appreciate clear writing devoid of unnecessary terms and phrases. However, when it comes to legal writing, court and local rules, and even individual judges' standing orders, tend to focus on formatting, citation, presentation of exhibits, and other more logistical matters.

One of the great stylistic legal writing debates involves whether to capitalize party designations. Unfortunately, though seemingly logistic, this is not something courts usually provide official guidance on. Matters of style are left to the attorneys to figure out, or sometimes it's left to an attorney's boss to dictate. The current popular school of thought preaches the use of concise, plain language. This means that, as much as possible, a pleading should be understandable by a layperson. But what about capitalization?

Experienced litigators know that federal civil lawsuits are all about procedure. Taking the wrong tack before trial can sink your ship before it even leaves the shore. Even if your client has the most compelling claim for compensation, a jury may never hear it if you don't get the discovery, removal and remand, and motions and pleadings right. If you're seeking a federal appeal, you need to know what judges and circuits are looking for in terms of issues to review.

It's clear that federal litigators need to stay on top of the latest pretrial practice strategies. So where do you go for this inside info?

How to Write a Great Closing to Your Brief

A closing argument should be like opening a door, not closing one.

After writing a brief to persuade your audience, you want to finish it by inviting your reader to step through that door to reach your conclusion. It should be more than compelling; it should be impossibly irresistible.

This post is about how to do it. If you have read this far, then you are ready for that next step: