Besides legal research and writing, I like to make things, some related to my work and some not.
Law and TeX
I have been using the XeLaTeX system for typesetting my legal briefs, articles, and other documents for years, and have built a substantial library of resources for doing so.
Bluebook citations: Ever since learning of the Bluebook in law school in 2004, I have been working on a program that manages and formats legal citations in LaTeX. The Bluebook's complex rules are both an ideal candidate for automation—there is no reason to keep track of supra footnote numbers manually—and exceptionally difficult to implement. The logic for managing short citation and hereinafter forms, for example, requires two passes through the document to ensure that the correct parentheticals are included. Traditional LaTeX citation management tools such as BibLaTeX do not have comprehensive Bluebook citation packages, and I doubt that those could be written in view of the complexity of legal citation.
My own citation program is fairly advanced, at over 11,000 lines of code excluding tables. It can handle a wide variety of citations, both for legal filings and law review articles. I am working on better documentation of the program before making it public, but if you would like to try it out, just get in touch with me.
Templates: I have well-developed LaTeX templates for Supreme Court and federal appellate briefs. I also have templates for district court filings, agency comments, and other documents—feel free to ask for those, although they are not in good enough condition for sharing. These templates depend on several of my other LaTeX style files, available on my downloads page.
Fonts: I made my own cut of the Century Expanded font typically used for Supreme Court briefs. It was programmed by heavily modifying Donald Knuth's Metafont programs for Computer Modern to line up approximately with the letterforms used in the United States Reports. As far as I can tell, this is the only remaining available Century Expanded font program that contains true small caps; the Supreme Court reporter has its own version that appears to no longer be commercially available. Note that the bold lowercase letters are currently of very poor quality, which is fine for my briefs which typically only use bold in uppercase or small-caps headings.
The repository holding those fonts is part of a larger project I started in college of automatically generating math symbols to be optically consistent with arbitrary fonts. The code is all there but the project is sadly out of date in view of newer TeX font paradigms.
I also made an Old English font for court names in briefs. Note that it only includes uppercase letters sufficient to name the Supreme Court and federal appellate courts. It uses metrics consistent with the Century Expanded font above so the two look fairly reasonable together.
These projects are mostly for personal use and not documented well, but I'd be happy to work with anyone interested in taking them up further. Please do not take these programs to offer legal advice; they are general tools and not a replacement for consulting a lawyer for your specific situation.
Health Insurance Simulator: When it comes time to choose a health insurance plan, it has long frustrated me that the copays, deductibles, and percentages don’t translate easily into out-of-pocket costs. This program allows me to provide a list of expected medical events ranging from guaranteed costs to unlikely but costly emergency room visits, and run simulations to figure out the likely distribution of costs of different plans.
Typesetter: This is a collection of scripts for formatting cases and
other documents. The most useful is
accepts a link to a Google Scholar case and produces a TeX file. There is
also a work-in-progress script for reformatting Federal Register notices,
scbv.rb that takes a recent United States Reports
citation and extracts the relevant pages of the volume.
Patent Claim Converter: This is a tool I wrote as a patent attorney that converts the text of patent claims into slightly more readable text.
In furtherance of my typesetting hobbies, I occasionally work in bookbinding and printing presses. My wife and I also make a decent Thanksgiving dinner, and we make train and airplane things with our kids.
These are some very old tutorials that I wrote in the past, which may still be of use.
- A tutorial on the Git source control management system.
- Mnemonics for remembering the amino acid chemical structures.
- How to fix a staple-free stapler.
- Some information I learned about buses on the island of Grenada.