yesterday I was putting together some papers to serve when I realized we were out of legal backs
legal backs are these long sheets of expensive paper personalized by color and notation to one’s firm. They are affixed on the backs of any papers served to parties or filed in court.
they are not required.
like serving documents on redline (paper with red-lined margins, also not a requirement), legal backs are a symbolic representation of the origins of the modern legal narrative
their cut and style are meant to recall the ways documents were served in some of the first Western legal systems
and then of course there’s the formal ritual of court
so all these performative aspects of the law serve to reify the image, traditions, and honor of the legal system, and to remind us that it has always already been that way
so it’s easy to forget that court is really just a battle of narratives and not about “truth” or “justice”
and I was thinking about all of this as I served those papers, and how there are even more ways that Moriarty plays with narratives in the court scene that I haven’t even thought of
and then I sat in my chair and whispered