Lawyers: The Dark Science of Conflict

For 63 years, the Order of the Coif* has awarded coveted gold Coif Keys to some of the country's brightest law students. Last week the legal fraternity began honoring another kind of excellence: legal writing. The need is clear. At its jargon-free best, legal literature inspires the court decisions that shape U.S. society. Yet legal writers usually toil obscurely for arcane law reviews. Even when they publish books, their reward is likely to be petty cash and a paucity of public praise.

The new Triennial Coif Award ($1,000) is for legal writing "that evidences creative talent of the highest order."...

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