PC

A tip for lawyers (and others): The standard phrase for certain kinds of unsigned court opinions is “per curiam,” not “per curium” — except perhaps in science fiction stories involving decisionmaking by artificially intelligent radioactive-element-driven quantum computers.

A quick Westlaw search through Allcases (date > 5/1/2010) confirms that “per curium” is still nonstandard: “Per curiam” gets 1427 hits, “per curium” only 10. (Usage among judges is probably the best yardstick for lawyers to measure themselves against, since judges are the people whom lawyers are trying to influence in their filings.) Yet “per curium” is common enough to be warning people against: A search through the Brief-All file (date > 1/1/2010) reports 88 instances of “per curium.”