How to Read a Legal Opinion:… (Attn: Bloggers, Posters, Reporters)

How to Read a Legal Opinion: A Guide for New Law Students by Orin S. Kerr.

If I would require one rule for reporting on courts and legislatures it would be: No story will be published without links to the bill, law or decision being reported.

How hard is that?

Yet every day posting appear where you must guess to find an opinion or legislative material.

Links won’t keep you mis-reporting laws and opinions but it will enable your readers to spot such mistakes more easily. (Is that the reason links are so often omitted?)

If you want to improve your skills at reading opinions, take a look at Kerr’s How to Read a Legal Opinion: A Guide for New Law Students.

Black’s Law Dictionary is a great help, but don’t use an “original” or out-dated version. The law is stable, but not that stable. There is an iPhone version.

Bear in mind that Black’s doesn’t record every nuance for every term defined by a statute or used by a court. It is a general guide only.

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