LawProse Lesson #305: Quotations: Photographic reproductions.
Continuing our series on quotations, let’s look at a technique that ensures precision. When quoting, you must make sure that every quotation is both correctly attributed and fully accurate—word for word and even character for character. It’s now possible to ensure absolute accuracy of the crucial legal instrument by photographically reproducing the precise provision at issue and inserting that as a block quotation. This technique works best with a provision in a statute, contract, will, or the like. It adds visual appeal: rather than retyping the words so that they take on the look and feel of the rest of your text, you put the provision in high relief and instantly project its authenticity. The governing text is immediately foregrounded. Here’s an example sporting a good lead-in to the block quotation, with a follow-up afterward: The spam provision of the forum’s Rules of Conduct both defines spam and establishes the potential consequences for spamming: It could not be clearer that “spam is not allowed,” and undisputed evidence establishes that on several occasions, Choi posted messages meeting the Rules’ definition of spam. WebbyServ was within its rights to ban Choi’s access to the forum. Although this technique is most common among litigators advocating about the meaning of a contract or statute, there’s no reason it couldn’t be used by scholarly writers as well.