Calling All Poets!

Does this describe you? You love to practice law and are thankful you chose this profession, but it doesn’t allow you to express your creative side. You know, that side of you that law school tried to obliterate (without complete success). Deep down you have a little poetry to write, but no where to publish it.

If it does, then you are in luck. You now have someplace to publish your little (or big) poem. The OSB Legal Publications Department is starting a project to publish Legal Verses: Poetry Celebrating the Law.

If you have a poem related to the law that you’ve written, submit it now to [email protected] If you have a poem related to the law that you are longing to write, get writing and then submit it to us. We will accept submissions until we have enough for a book.

You could write a haiku, a limerick (clean ones only, please), a sonnet, free verse, or any other type of poem. You could write about a specific case; expound on the practice of law in general; offer a philosophical poem on justice and the rule of law; lament all those legal questions you get hit with at parties; or share a humorous account of a day in court or at the office. Use your imagination and get writing!

As an example of legal poetry to get your creative juices flowing, see the poetic opinion that Judge Evans of the Georgia Court of Appeals penned in 1975:

The D. A. was ready
His case was red-hot.
Defendant was present,
His witness was not.

He prayed one day’s delay
From His honor the judge.
But his plea was not granted
The Court would not budge.

So the jury was empaneled
All twelve good and true
But without his main witness
What could the twelve do?

The jury went out
To consider his case
And then they returned
The defendant to face.

‘What verdict, Mr. Foreman?’
The learned judge inquired.
‘Guilty, your honor.’
On Brown’s face-no smile.

‘Stand up’ said the judge,
Then quickly announced
‘Seven years at hard labor’
Thus his sentence pronounced.

‘This trial was not fair,’
The defendant then sobbed.
‘With my main witness absent
I’ve simply been robbed.’

‘I want a new trial-
State has not fairly won.’
‘New trial denied,‘
Said Judge Dunbar Harrison.

‘If you still say I’m wrong,‘
The able judge did then say
‘Why not appeal to Atlanta?
Let those Appeals Judges earn part of their pay.’

‘I will appeal, sir’-
Which he proceeded to do-
‘They can’t treat me worse
Than I’ve been treated by you.’

So the case has reached us-
And now we must decide
Was the guilty verdict legal-
Or should we set it aside?

Justice and fairness
Must prevail at all times;
This is ably discussed
In a case without rhyme.

The law of this State
Does guard every right
Of those charged with crime
Fairness always in sight.

To continue civil cases
The judge holds all aces.
But it’s a different ball-game
In criminal cases.

Was one day’s delay
Too much to expect?
Could the State refuse it
With all due respect?

Did Justice applaud
Or shed bitter tears
When this news from Savannah
First fell on her ears?

We’ve considered this case
Through the night-through the day.
As Judge Harrison said,
‘We must earn our poor pay.’

This case was once tried-
But should now be rehearsed
And tried one more time.
This case is reversed

Brown v. State, 134 Ga App 771, 771-73, 216 SE2d 356, 356-57 (1975).

Or see these poetic opinions:

  • Rimes v. Curb Records, Inc., 129 F Supp 2d 984, 985–86 (ND Tex 2001).
  • Suboh v. Borgioli, 298 F Supp 2d 192, 194 (D Mass 2004).
  • In re Riddle, 344 BR 702, 703 (Bankr SD Fla 2006).
  • Wolff v. New Hampshire Dep’t of Corrections, Civil No. 06-cv-321-PB, 2007 WL 2788610 (D.N.H. Sept. 18, 2007).
  • Wheat v. Fraker, 107 Ga App 318, 318−19, 130 SE2d 251, 252 (1963).
  • Amicone v. Shoaf, 620 A2d 1222, 1223 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1993).
  • In re Love, 61 BR 558, 558–559 (Bankr SD Fla 1986).
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1 Response to Calling All Poets!

  1. Pingback: April Fool, or Not: The Oregon State Bar is Looking for Lawyer Poets - Oregon Legal Research Blog

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