Antitrust, Benchslaps, Brett Kavanaugh, D.C. Circuit, Department of Justice, Laurence Silberman

Benchslap Of The Day: LMAO At D.C. Cir.

The D.C. Circuit to counsel: readable briefs or GTFO. From an order filed today:

Who are the parties and their counsel? Additional information and the full order, after the jump.

(Also note the UPDATES — in defense of the lawyers, and floating a theory about the judge behind the benchslap — added to the end of this post.)

The petitioner, the Illinois Public Telecommunications Association — is it okay to refer it to as “IPTA,” Your Honors? — is represented by Daniel Blynn of Kelley Drye and Michael Walter Ward of Ward & Ward.

The first respondent, the Federal Communications Commission — yeah, “FCC” is surely kosher — is represented by lawyers from the agency’s general counsel’s office: Joel Marcus, Sarah Elizabeth Citrin, Jacob M. Lewis, Suzanne M. Tetreault, and Richard Kiser Welch.

The second respondent, the United States, is represented by lawyers from the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division: Assistant Attorney General William J. Baer, Robert B. Nicholson, and Shana Marie Wallace.

In fairness, it’s hard to fault the lawyers here. When you’re working on a big, complex admin law case, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds and think that the abbreviations you live and breathe are commonplace. (But maybe some of this could have been avoided if the attorneys had read Mark Herrmann’s excellent Above the Law post, On Alphabet Soup (Hereinafter ‘OAS’).)

UPDATE (12:50 p.m.): A few more points in defense of the lawyers here. First, from legal writing guru Ross Guberman, over Twitter:

Let’s pause and look at the FCC brief. Culprits are “BOC” and “LEC,” both well known. Also, here’s an opinion by D.C. Cir. Judge Kavanagh with “LEC” and “CLEC” in the first paragraphs.

Second, as noted by an ATL reader who used to litigate administrative law issues:

This acronym procedure wasn’t around when I was practicing, as I recall. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to not be able to abbreviate stuff when you’re pushing the edge of the word count limits. Which we often were, because the front office would ask us line attorneys to add things at the very last minute.

UPDATE (1:25 p.m.): Which member of the panel was the driving force behind the order? On Twitter, Michelle Olsen points out:

Judge Silberman has strong feelings against acronyms: http://bit.ly/1dKGSuG (2012).

Here’s the full anti-acronyms order, for your reading pleasure:

Ipta v Fcc Order

Earlier: Inside Straight: On Alphabet Soup (Hereinafter ‘OAS’)

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