Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Posner-Garner Fact Check

Continuing my quest to discover the truth in even the most trivial of matters....

Garner defends the accuracy of his case explanations by describing the cite-checking process they used:
Justice Scalia and I wrote the first drafts of the case explanations ourselves, and we tried to be unimpeachably accurate in them. Beginning more than a year before publication, I had four lawyer‑colleagues at LawProse—with 55 years of professional experience among them—verify the accuracy of every statement made about every case in the book.
Posner responds with disbelief:
I have trouble believing Garner when he says that four lawyers at his company verified the accuracy of every statement made about every case in the book. The book’s Acknowledgements page thanks 96 (!) persons for helping with the book, and there is no reference to four lawyer-colleagues who slaved to make sure that every statement was accurate. 
Since I have the book now, I decided to turn to the acknowledgements page. It includes this:
At Law Prose, Inc. in Dallas, we had the benefit not only of a fine law library but also of several accomplished legal researchers: Tiger Jackson, Jeff Newman, Becky R. McDaniel, Heather C. Haines, Timothy D. Martin, and Eliot Turner.
This group presumably includes Garner's cite-checking lawyer-colleagues. Very odd.

Incidentally, I count 101 "persons" (including one corporate person, William S. Hein & Co.) thanked on the acknowledgments page—not 96, as Posner states. Is it just a coincidence that 101 minus 96 is five, and that Posner seems to have missed the five legal researchers at Law Prose? (*See update for my mistaken lawyer math.) Or is Posner actually looking at a different version of the Acknowledgements that left them out? That is the only scenario in which Posner's accusation that Garner is lying is defensible. But that scenario seems very unlikely, particularly since the paragraph thanking the Law Prose researchers goes on to thank several other Law Prose "staffers."

UPDATE: An astute reader informed me that I left out Timothy D. Martin from the list of Law Prose legal researchers, so there are actually six of them, not five. As a result, the "multiple Acknowledgments" theory doesn't hold water.

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