What’s That Author Trying to Say?

By Linda L. Kruschke, Director of Legal Publications

OSB Legal Publications contain several types of author commentary, including practice tips, queries, and caveats. But did you ever wonder what the differences are? Or if there is any rhyme or reason to the headings of our author commentary?

We do provide authors with guidelines on using the various categories of author commentary, and our Attorney Editors are trained to recognize which category is appropriate in a given situation. But even so, if you, the reader, don’t know the difference, all our efforts are in vain. So here, at last, is the definitive description of each category of author commentary in OSB publications. These descriptions are what we provide to our authors for guidance.

•    Caveat: Use a caveat to caution the reader about an exception to the rule stated in the text, a pitfall in practice not easily discerned from the substantive law, or a development in a separate but related area of the law that may contradict or render ineffectual the rule stated in the text.

•    Comment: Use a comment to point out your analysis or opinion on the rule stated in the text or to add a side issue.

•    Example: Use an example to provide a hypothetical situation that illustrates the rule stated in the text.

•    Note: Use a note to bring to the reader’s attention a point of law or other fact that deserves special emphasis, or that is not directly related to the law being discussed in the text but that may affect it.

•    Practice Tip: Use a practice tip to describe a practice-oriented suggestion.

•    Query: Use a query when raising a question about the point of law previously discussed in the text. The reader appreciates an author’s attempt to answer the query.

Is there another type of author commentary that would be helpful to you in your practice? If so, let us know by leaving a comment below. We will consider adding it to the list of descriptions we provide to our authors and encourage them to use it.