Careful With Those Literary References:

I often warn my students about literary references — whether high culture or low — in legal writing. Sometimes, if they’re just right, they can make your point more vivid and persuasive (see here for an example). But sometimes they just seem forced, or are just not very apt. And my sense is that people are often so tempted to use what strikes them as a cute and engaging reference that they don’t think critically about whether it works or not. Here is an example, from a brief I just read:

The mischaracterization of this claim as a “freedom of speech” claim and the use of the civil procedure tool “Special Motion to Strike” is about as applicable to this claim as Cinderella’s glass slipper was befitting the ugliest of her evil stepsisters.

I’m not sure that really adds much to the argument.