Why use sparingly?

  • Many Readers dislike visual impact—requires shift to shorter line length
  • Surveys show judges and staff attorneys tend to skip over quotes more than six or seven lines in length
  • Judges view them as evidence of laziness

When to Use?

  • When the quotation enunciates the legal test
  • When words so eloquently express an important idea that you could not say it better
  • When words are so closely identified with topic that they are inseparable from it.
  • Explain why the case is on point
  • Introduce key ideas before the quote
  • Use underline, italics, or bold to identify key passages


The following is an ineffective block quotation:

     This quotation is ineffective because it requires that the reader instantly shift to the text of the opinion without any explanation as to what may be found therein.  The reader may instinctively skip over the block text.

With a strong introduction and judicious use of bolding and underlining, the block quotation comes alive and becomes a vivid form of written advocacy:

           Of course, one could remove the block quotation altogether: