For Lawyers Reading this Blog

September 12, 2014 § 9 Comments

A few chancellors have told me that lawyers have been citing my blog posts as authority in their arguments. One judge told me (laughingly, thank goodness) that she had stated her understanding of the law, and the lawyer responded, “No, judge, that’s not right; Judge Primeaux says …”

Well, as flattering as that is, let me set things straight.

I am not the authority here. I am merely pointing you to the authority. And what I am posting is my opinion of the authority. You should read the case or statute or rule for yourself, understand how it fits your particular case, and cast your net out for any other authority you can find to help your case. Your opinion may vary from mine.

I am not a legal scholar like Professor Bell, nor is my blog a hornbook. It’s a starting place. A place where you can go to be reminded of something you might have forgotten, or to have something called to your attention that you didn’t know about. From that basic point it’s up to you to turn that into something of benefit to your practice.

My ruminations here are no substitute for the exercise of your own legal skills. Take what I have written and let it lead you in a productive direction, keeping in mind that it will take you only so far until your own legal ability and talent must kick in to formulate the best approach and presentation for your client.

Don’t cite me or my blog as the authority. Cite the authority.

§ 9 Responses to For Lawyers Reading this Blog

  • thusbloggedanderson says:

    “Persuasive authority” is, well, that which persuades. I take the point about blogs; I’m still wryly amazed a UK paper quoted me (me! anonymous blogger!) as a source.

    But I would not hesitate to drop a footnote to the effect of “one chancellor, at least, agrees; see ….” Some names carry weight; if I’m citing a COA op by Judge Southwick, I darn sure add a parenthetical. On chancery matters, Larry Primeaux is one of those names. Not because you blog, but because your blog shows your good judgment about the law.

  • Judge, I have to agree with Mr. Gillespie. I have cited you in at least one brief to the Supreme Court as a “commentator” on the law to illustrate a point (after citing to a case first). When I teach Pretrial Practice, I have also included your blog as a good place for students to check to immerse themselves in the law.

    I normally talk about a “precedent pyramid,” where for instance in federal cases the Supreme Court is at the top, circuits in the middle, and districts at the bottom, with secondary sources wandering in around there, such as books and law reviews. In state court we generally only have our Supreme Court and Court of Appeals though, so to illustrate points we sometimes look all around. Good commentary is good commentary!

    Thanks for writing and for such a great resource.

  • Virgil G. Gillespie says:

    Judge Primeaux:

    I respectfully disagree with your concluding comments in “For Lawyers Reading this Blog,” which I received on September 12.

    I have cited your blog to judges (both law and equity judges) and I will continue to do so.

    If I can cite law journals that are usually written by lawyers who are far less experienced, articulate and informed as the reasoning in your blog, why can’t I quote you?

    The Supreme Court has even quoted me from some of the articles I wrote while I was on the Law Journal.

    You are wrong. Your blog is perfectly good authority to cite to chancellors and to law judges.

    Thank you, Virgil G. Gillespie Attorney at Law

    GillespieSmith Law Firm, PLLC 1901 24th Avenue (39501) Post Office Box 850 Gulfport, Mississippi 39502-0850 Telephone: 228.864.4520 Facsimile: 866.859.2530 vgg@gillespiesmithlawfirm.com

  • Bob Wolford says:

    You can write a book- Primeaux on MS Chancery Practice and Procedure. Problem solved (lol).

  • Amery Moore says:

    Your blog is an amazing resource I refer my peers to. While certainly the blog should not be cited, I am certain that was an amateur mistake. I quickly learned never to say so and so said…. Regardless, I am so grateful for your blog and your guidance. I wish all chancellors were so accessible and helpful.

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