You may or may not use a serial comma wherever (or nowhere) else you want, but woe to the person who leaves the serial comma out of legal documents, including contracts, legal opinions, statutes, regulations, and any other legal agreement or law that will be interpreted literally (and I mean literally, literally) by parties to the agreement or by a judge – or even, mercy, by a legislator or government lawyer.
Honestly now: Do you really want to pay lawyer(s!) bills and court costs when lawyers, judges, and clients end up doing battle over the meaning of a sentence when the presence of a comma would have allowed everyone to go home to supper and a peaceful night’s sleep?
Lawyers, legislators, drafters of laws, and judges have enough trouble writing clearly without adding to their own and their readers’ woes. Use the serial comma, please. It will save all of us time and money.
The Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC) Portland, Oregon, is expanding its legal team and has openings for a senior attorney, two (2) direct services staff attorneys, a technical assistance and training staff attorney, a temporary contract attorney, a legal assistant, and an administrative assistant:
VRLC Oregon Office:
Lawyer technology competency matters for so many reasons. Knowing how to maintain the privacy and the security of your personal information and legal documents are not the only skills your lawyer needs to have. Keeping up with legal education requirements and the law itself requires technological competency. Managing a financially healthy legal practice requires technological competency. Thorough legal research requires technological competency.
Does your state lawyer licensing agency require technology competence? Here’s one list of state bar associations that do:
“Another State Adopts Duty of Technology Competence, Bringing Total to 28,” by Robert Ambrogi (LawSites).
Carolyn Elefant’s popular and long-running blog/website MyShingle has an interesting article (it has lots actually):
“40 Legal Practice Areas That Didn’t Exist 15 Years Ago,” January 2, 2018:
Lawyers in large law firms usually have databases, couriers, professional law librarians and money to help them locate full-text copies of court documents quickly. What are mere mortals to do? There is actually quite a bit.
Mere mortals who want Oregon appellate court documents have their own “points of access” and it’s going to get better:
1) How to Find Oregon Appellate Court Briefs research guide, which will be updated shortly
LawSites continues to be at the top of my list for Keeping Up With Interesting Legal Tech News. There are so many reasons so many of us link back to it. (There are other sites that will keep you abreast of the latest SCOTUS, Law and …, legal scholarship,and legal research news.)
Espresso Machines are Lousy Substitutes for Law Library Leadership (3 Geeks and a Law Blog 4/22/16 blog post):
“…. Law Librarianship is not about the number of books on the shelf. It is not about turning shelves into collaboration spaces or coffee bars. It is about positioning the firm in a manner that aligns resources, internal and external; human and information, in a way that puts the firm on a better competitive footing. It’s about risk-management. It’s about negotiating the best deals with very expensive vendors. It’s about evaluating what is, and what is not needed to support the practices of the firm. It takes a strong leader, one with vision of where the law library fits in the strategic goals of the firm, in order to guide the firm on the correct path. Leaving these leadership positions empty, or eliminating them altogether may have short-term financial gains, but long-term repercussions that will plague firms for many years to come….” [Link to full article.]
When you need legal research advice, turn to the legal research experts, professional law librarians, most of whom are able to share their expertise freely, or low-costly (so to speak), which is good value indeed when you need accurate, timely, and comprehensive information.
Great law librarians keep up with the vast world of legal research resources: dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of journals and websites and lawyer and law librarian listserves, networks, and professional associations (e.g. AALL). A Law Librarian’s Continuing Education also includes reading local, state, and national judicial, legislative, and regulatory news, and related news in the foreign and international legal world.
So, make sure the librarian you consult for legal research advice is Keeping Up With the Legal Research Joneses or, more to the point, Keeping Up With Opposing Counsel, whose access to legal research resources might be funded a whole lot better than yours: