Director’s Tip of the Week: Think before You Write, or, Avoid Prompting a Judge to Quote a “Billy Madison” in Response to Your Written Work

Last week, PDO urged you to think before you act.  This week, the topic turns slightly to thinking before you write–whether a fiery email to your classmates, a questionable facebook post which can be viewed by or forwarded to prospective employers, or a piece of legal work which is not your best effort.  This is a bit of an oldie but a very entertaining goodie.  A few years back, defense counsel in a Texas bankruptcy case filed a motion.  Apparently, counsel filed the motion without thoroughly thinking it through.  The court denied the motion on the grounds of its “incomprehensibility,” noting that it could not discern “the substance, if any, of the Defendant’s legal argument, nor can the court even ascertain the relief the Defendant is requesting.”  If that weren’t bad enough, the court was compelled, in a footnote contained in the order, to quote the following passage from the classic Adam Sandler film, Billy Madison:

Mr. Madison, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

To see the Smoking Gun story and actual order, go to