Sitting judges don’t get to practice law. So although they often opine on the dos and don’ts of effective advocacy, we rarely get to see them put their advice into practice. But a few years ago, a class-action lawsuit provided the rare opportunity to witness a federal judge acting as an advocate before another federal judge—if not in the role of attorney, then certainly in as close to that role as we are likely to see. Given the chance to employ his own advice about effective advocacy, would the judge—Alex Kozinski—practice what he preaches? Would his years of experience on the other side of the bench inform his written advocacy, or would he succumb to the same temptations that frequently undermine the advocacy of practicing lawyers? It turns out that Judge Kozinski’s written advocacy did flout some persuasive-writing conventions, but it was persuasive, anyway. I wanted to figure out why. And I wanted to figure out whether his advocacy suggests lessons for practicing attorneys who might be tempted to adopt his approach.
Wilensky, Beth H. "Judge Kozinski Objects." Legal Comm. & Rhetoric 14 (2017): 81-97.