Here’s some good news for lawyers who enjoy blogging or instant-messenger services like Gchat. It’s right in the headline of this here National Law Journal story: Smiley face, snark, don’t render law grad unfit to practice.

Many of us get snarky in our personal writing, and many of us employ emoticons in email messages or Gchat exchanges. As litigators well know, sometimes a cold transcript doesn’t adequately convey tone. For this reason, I’ve even seen federal judges use winking smiley-face emoticons in email messages.

But you shouldn’t use smiley faces in documents you file with the court — even the super-icky courts that hear traffic appeals (yes, they exist). This is a lesson that Marilyn Ringstaff, a 2006 graduate of John Marshall Law School, learned the hard way….

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In case you’re wondering about the outcome, our tipster states: “Amazingly, the Judge granted the motion.”

We contacted the attorney responsible for this court filing, to verify its authenticity. She responded: “Can I ask what your interest is, please, and how you acquired these?”

We’re taking that as a “Yes, they’re authentic.” We gave the lawyer in question an opportunity to deny authenticity — or to deny her use of a smiley-face emoticon in a court document — and she did not.

We responded to her message, explaining that they were forwarded to us by tipsters (whose identities we always keep confidential, unless they request otherwise).

In her next email, she had a little more to say. We reprint her comments after the jump.

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