This week’s Friday Legal Writing Question is:

What did you write this week?

I wrote an appellate brief contesting the denial of a suppression motion. Making this argument was difficult because the judge was exceptionally thorough in his reasoning. But as any legal writer knows, by the time you get to the end of your research you are convinced you have at least a reasonable foothold on an argument. Even when an argument is not likely to prevail, as appointed counsel, my clients deserve the best shot I can give them at overturning a conviction.

Here is snippet from the brief:

Once there has been a seizure, the question becomes whether officers had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that Mr. X was engaged in criminal activity and was armed and dangerous, justifying both the stop and the search. Green v. United States, 662 A.2d at 1390  citing Terry, 392 U.S. at 30. The principle indicia of reasonable suspicion relied upon by the government were: the “bulge” in the crotch area of Mr. X pants; Mr. X glance at his waistband when someone in the group told everyone to show the police their waists; and Mr. X movements to get behind another person on the sidewalk.

I also wrote a contingency fee retainer agreement for a new matter. Writing a retainer letter seems like it should be simple, but it is not. retainers are contracts, and the balance of power between the author (the lawyer) and the client is often unequal in terms of education and understanding of the legal process generally. To make the task easier, I found a very helpful checklist from the DC Bar, here. One is never truly done editing a retainer agreement because each case is different, but having spent the time this week, I now have a basis to work from.

A note about the photograph: the moon on Monday (my younger son’s birthday!) was a sliver of light just like this photo. The photographs I use for blog posts come from Unsplash, a free image site. Credit badges link to the artists who provide their works. Photo credit:

unsplash-logoSadman Sakib


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