Lawyers often have to rely on others’ words — words written by legislatures, courts, or parties to a contract. But improper use or overuse of quotes is a problem. A quote was written in a different context — (usually) by a different person, for a different purpose. By overusing quotes, we sacrifice our voice. Stringing a bunch of quotes together compounds the problem; putting all those different voices in the same paragraph can make the writing feel disjointed. Overreliance on quotes also shows a lack of analysis — too much time spent showing generic rules and too little time spent analyzing the current situation.

Still, quotes are unavoidable in some instances. So, let’s explore a few different ways to use quotes effectively.

Joe Fore, The Mechanics of Quoting, 70 Virginia Lawyer 62 (April, 2022).