Codes used in marking up essays

CIVIL PROCEDURE, PROFESSOR NATHENSON

GLOSSARY OF HANDWRITTEN CODES (v. 4.0)

The table below explains the meaning of common abbreviations used when scoring your essays.  Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

CODE

MEANING

#

Insert space

<

Depending on context, means “less than” or “before” as in one thing precedes another.

=

Equals, typically in the sense that one thing is like another. In contrast, “DN =” means that one thing is not like another.

>

Means “more than.”

¶ or ¶¶

Either a lengthy paragraph that should be broken up, or a suggestion for a place to break for a new paragraph.  Alternatively, it may mean that you should indent the first line of each new paragraph.

A right arrow or ¬

Indent the first line of a paragraph.

Adv.

Depending on context, either “advertising” or “adverb.”  Regarding adverbs, see section on Writing below.

Adv.

Depending on context, either “advertising” or “adverb.”  Regarding adverbs, avoid words like “clearly” or “definitely” in your essays.  If you think the answer is clear, show the reader why your answer is correct.  Unfortunately, “clearly” is usually used to explain why analysis is not provided.

AIC

Amount in Controversy

Am.

Amendment

Am. MOC

Amendment as a matter of course

Amb. or Ambig.

Ambiguous

Awk

Awkward

B/C

Because (in other words, the statement is conclusory)

Begs Q, Circular, or circle w/ arrows

Begging the question is when an argument assumes the correctness of a proposition, or the existence of a fact, that the writer is attempting to prove.  Put differently, begging the question means assuming the thing to be proven.  It might also refer to defining something in terms of itself: “Minimum contacts are satisfied when the defendant has sufficient contacts with the state to support personal jurisdiction.”

BF or B/F

But-for, which may refer to the “but-for” test in specific jurisdiction.

BFM

But for a mistake.

Br.

Justice Brennan

BSFW

Burden-shifting framework (of WWVW and Burger King)

BU or B/U

Break up a long sentence or paragraph.

C&C

Clear & convincing

C&P

Cut & Paste. This could mean that part of your essay has been copied & repeated in other parts of your essay. It could also be an observation that your rule statement is copied verbatim from the text of the rule. You do not need to state a rule more than once for a particular essay answer.

C&S

Continuous & systematic

C/A or Counter-arg.

Is the paper considering counterarguments? Is there an obvious counterargument that is missing?

C/S of FS

Citizen or subject of foreign state

C/S/EAH

Continuous, systematic, and essentially at home

CC

Counterclaim, or if PJ is at issue, “compelling case.” In rare cases, “commerce clause.”

CDR

Complete diversity rule

Check mark

A check mark means nothing in terms of points.  It is simply something I sometimes do while reading through a paper.

Clearly, Generally, Adv., or Adverb

Avoid words like “clearly” or other adverbs that intensify your argument. “Clearly” is a crutch that is too-often used to boost underdeveloped arguments.  With most adverbs: try removing them. If the argument works ok without the adverb, then your writing and argument will be much stronger for it.  If your argument is no longer true without the adverb, then work on improving the argument.  Or consider whether you need that argument at all.

COA

Depending on context, either Court of Appeals or cause of action.

CODS

Citizens of different states

COL

Choice of law, or conflict of law

Conc. or Concl.

Depending on context, either refers to argumentation that is conclusory or due to a lack of (or defect in a) conclusion.

COQ or COTQ

Call of the question

COS, CODS

Citizen(s) of a state, citizens of different states

CRC

Crossclaim

D or a Greek Delta

Defendant

DCT or Dist.

District Court or District

Div. or DOC

Diversity, Diversity of Citizenship

DN

Depending on context, “do not,” “does not,” or “domain name.”

DN = (or the “does not equal” sign)

Does not equal

DNF

Depending on context, “did not finish” or “does not follow.” Re “does not follow,” that likely means that one of your assertions does not follow from other assertions. Your analysis may include self-contradictions or non-sequiturs.

DP

Due Process

EAH

Essentially at home

EC

Extra credit

El. or “elements”

Reference to elements. Are you providing all elements, correctly?

EP

Equal protection, or as context demands, Erie prediction

EV

Evidence, such as in the evidence test in specific jurisdiction

F by F

Break analysis up factor by factor

F&FO

Full & fair opportunity

FC

Facts and conclusion, i.e., rather than providing analysis, you have given the facts accompanied by a conclusion.

FDR

Forum Defendant Rule (or possibly Franklin Delano Roosevelt)

FF&C

Full Faith & Credit

FL

Federal law

FP

Fact pattern

FQ

Federal question

Fr. or Frag

Sentence fragment

Frag.

Sentence fragment, not a full sentence.

FS or F/S

Forum state

GJ or G/J

General jurisdiction

GR

Depending on context, gives rise or grammatical error.

H/E

However

History, or H/L, or news story

Legal analysis is more than just reiterating the historical facts of the case as if one were telling a story of “what happened.”  Supply legal analysis, namely, the application of law to facts.

IC

Interest and costs

I/S

International Shoe

IFF

This is a term in logic; it means “if and only if”

IP

Depending on context, could be: 1) personam jurisdiction; 2) intellectual property; 3) internet protocol address

IR/QIR

In rem/quasi-in rem

IRAC and similar abbreviations such as IRC, IC, IRFC, etc.

Obviously IRAC means Issue-Rule-Analysis-Conclusion.

If I write down IRC or IC, I likely mean that you are providing incomplete discussion. IRC would be Issue-Rule-Conclusion without analysis. IC would be a jump from Issue to conclusion without rule or analysis.

If I say something like IRFC, then you are supplying facts rather than analysis, i.e., Issue-Rule-Facts-Conclusion. Giving facts is simply telling a story; it’s not analysis.

J.D.

Judicial district

JJ

Judgment

K, M, or S

Depending on context, K is “contract” or “Kirk.” M refers to McCoy.  Depending on context, S refers to Spock or Scotty.

LA or L/A

Long-arm (statute)

LC

Law and conclusion, but lacking analysis, or depending on context, “legal certainty”

LL

Laundry list

LPR

Lawful permanent resident

Maj.

Majority

Make arg. or M/A

To state that an argument exists or might be or could be made is not the same thing as making the argument and analyzing it.  If an argument is sufficiently important that you think something could be argued, then make the argument and assess its merits.

MC or M/C

Minimum contacts (test)

MD or M/D

Minimal diversity

MOC

Matter of course

MTD

Motion to dismiss

MTR

Motion to remand

N but NS, or N but IS, and variants

Necessary but not sufficient, necessary but insufficient. What essay states is necessary but by itself insufficient to support conclusion.

N/S or Non-Seq

Non sequiter, Latin, means one thing does not follow from another. In other words, an error in logic.

NAP

No answer provided

NBI

Necessary but insufficient

Nec.

Necessary

NIF or not in facts

Not in facts (not in the fact pattern); essay makes a factual assertion that is neither contained in nor justified by the fact pattern.

NIS

Negative-issue spotting: it squanders valuable time on non-issues.

NOR

Notice of removal

Not PP

The argument is presented by the student as a public policy argument, but is not really public policy.  Reasons may include stating or restating legal argumentation (such as describing rule) as a policy.  Examples might include “The policy behind PJ is to prevent courts from permitting jurisdiction over a person lacking sufficient contacts with a state.”  That’s nothing more than a vague reference to thelaw, i.e., the minimum contacts test.

O’C or OC, or O/C

Justice O’Connor, or depending on context, overall conclusion provided?

OI or O/I

Overall issue provided?

One or more question marks (?)

Means that there is a problem, such as: 1) an argument does not make sense; 2) I do not understand what the paper is trying to say; or 3) an argument is not coherent.

OR, O/R, or OAR

Overall rule provided?

Org.

Organization

OW or O/W

Otherwise

P or a Greek Pi

Plaintiff

PA or P/A

Purposeful availment

PJ

Personal jurisdiction

POPL

Principles of Public Law (from Pennoyer)

PP

Public policy

PPOB

Principal place of business

PvN

Pennoyer v. Neff

QP

Question presented (i.e., the issue presented)

R&A

Regular & anticipated (as in Brennan’s SOC standard)

R&AF

Regular & anticipated flow (of goods into the forum state through the stream of commerce)

R/B or RB

Relation back

R/O or run-on

Run-on sentence.

RA

Rule analysis, i.e., your application of the law to facts.

RD

Rule definition (the statement of law) is missing or flawed.

RDA

Rules of Decision Act

REA

Rules Enabling Act

Rel.

Relevant or relevance.

Req. or Req’d

Requires or required

RF

Reasonableness factors

RO or R/O

Run-on sentence.

RP

Real property

RQ or RQ DN = analysis

Paper is asking a rhetorical question rather than providing analysis of the issue. Your job as a scholar is to ask questions and to answer them. If the question is worth asking, then it is also worth trying to answer.

SC

Depending on context, either subconclusion needed, or a reference to the Supreme Court.

SC

Means sub-conclusion. Either an indication that I saw that you provided one, or a reminder that you did not provide one.

Scalia

Would you make this argument to Justice Scalia? (See also SF/Straight-face)

SCT

Supreme Court

Self-contr.

Discussion appears to contradict itself.

SF

Does this argument pass the “straight-face test?”

SL or S/L

State law

SJ or S/J

Specific jurisdiction

SMJ

Subject-matter jurisdiction

SOC

Stream of commerce

SP

Spelling error.

SPM

St. Paul Mercury

SSI/SSP

States’ shared interest in substantive social policy

SSP

Substantive social policy

St.

Depending on context, State or Justice Stevens

Story

Don’t tell a story. In other words, don’t repeat the facts. Provide analysis.

Straw man, SMA, or False Dichotomy

A straw man argument is a counter-position that is set up so that it can be refuted.  Either further develop the counter-position as a plausible position even if you still reject it, or considering removing it entirely. The danger of straw man arguments is that they may be used as part of a “false dichotomy” fallacy, which sets up two arguments as the only positions available.  By striking down the obviously “wrong” position (the straw man), the author sets up the proffered alternative as the “correct” position. However, straw man arguments, when combined with false dichotomies, typically ignore the possibility that other positions may be plausible and even preferable than the two discussed.

The “does not equal” sign

Means “does not equal” or “is not the same as.”

The congruence sign (a squiggle or similar signs)

This is the congruence sign in mathematics. I use it to mean “analogous.”

TNOFP

Traditional notions of fair play (and substantial justice)

TOC

Totality of circumstances

TP

Transient presence

TPC

Third party claim

U/E or UE

Unguided Erie

Ven.

Venue

Typing or Typing DN = RD

Merely copying or typing the rule verbatim or near-verbatim from the rule supplement is not providing a meaningful rule statement. You don’t get points merely for showing that you can see and type.

Vol.

Voluntary, voluntariness. Might be volume in context of Stevens’ stream of commerce test

VVH

Volume, value, hazardousness (Stevens’ stream of commerce test)

W/, w/in, w/o

With, within, without

W/? or W/__

With what?

WN

Would not

Updated May 29, 2016 (v4.0)