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2013

Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Briefs

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Bad Briefs, Bad Law, Bad Markets: Documenting The Poor Quality Of Plaintiffs' Briefs, Its Impact On The Law, And The Market Failure It Reflects, Scott A. Moss Jan 2013

Bad Briefs, Bad Law, Bad Markets: Documenting The Poor Quality Of Plaintiffs' Briefs, Its Impact On The Law, And The Market Failure It Reflects, Scott A. Moss

Articles

For a major field, employment discrimination suffers surprisingly low-quality plaintiffs' lawyering. This Article details a study of several hundred summary judgment briefs, finding as follows: (1) the vast majority of plaintiffs' briefs omit available caselaw rebutting key defense arguments, many falling far below basic professional standards with incoherent writing or no meaningful research; (2) low-quality briefs lose at over double the rate of good briefs; and (3) bad briefs skew caselaw evolution, because even controlling for win-loss rate, bad plaintiffs' briefs far more often yield decisions crediting debatable defenses. These findings are puzzling. In a major legal service market, how ...