Get to the Point: How to Sharpen Your Legal Writing Brian M. DeFriez, J.D., Ph.D. Idaho Legal Drafting Use Expository Language Clarify your arguments: Start with your conclusion , follow with your evidence Dont make your readers guess at your main points
Try to mimic natural speech Royal, Brandon, Little Red Writing Book: 20 Powerful Principles of Structure, Style, & Readability. Ohio: Writers Digest Books (2004), pp. 8-13. Sell the Sizzle Boring Introduction: On April 10, 2016, Defendant was working for XYZ company, and Idaho corporation. Defendant had been working for the company continuously since Better Introduction: XYZ company started this litigation
because the Defendant stole the companys intellectual property. Defendant had a good motive to steal it. Defendant was planning Additional Points Use active, not passive voice Use simple, plain English words Let the facts speak for themselves Cut Unnecessary Language
There is no greater waste of words than in writing about subjects that no one cares about. The 1,000-word article on a subject no one cares about wastes more words than the chatty 3000-word article that includes 500 words that no one cares about.* Brohaugh, Sixteen Types of Wordiness: Click Here to View** Guberman comparison: Click Here to View*** * Brohaugh, William, Write Tight: How to Keep Your Prose Sharp, Focused, and Concise. Delaware: ISI Books (2002), p. 5.
** Brohaugh, William, Write Tight: How to Keep Your Prose Sharp, Focused, and Concise. Delaware: ISI Books (2002), p. 16. *** Guberman, Ross, Point Made: How to Write Like the Nations Top Advocates, 2d ed. New York: Oxford University Press (2014), p. 338. Draft with Diagrams: In June 2012, Defendant fired the Plaintiff because Plaintiff was often late for work. For instance, in March 2012, Plaintiff was late for work an average of 34 minutes a day. Plaintiffs average arrival time was 9:04 amfour minutes after the start of his shift.
See: https://cogentlegal.com/2014/01/history_of_performance/ Examples Words may be a lawyers primary tool, but theyre not the only tool. Well-crafted imagescharts, diagrams, photographs can make your briefs more interesting and persuasive.* Click Here to View
* Rosman, Adam L. Visualizing the Law: Using Charts, Diagrams, and Other Images to Improve Legal Briefs. Journal of legal Education, Vol. 63, No. 1 (August 2013), p. 70. Tell Effective Stories I often hear lawyers say, Im going to write the facts and get them out of the way and then figure out what to say in the argument. This is the wrong way to construct a legal story. Lawyers cant write their facts unless they know their arguments, because without the
arguments, they dont know what story to tell.* Stark, Steven D., Writing to Win: The Legal Writer. New York: Three Rivers Press (2012), p. 116. Putting it All Together Choose a Suitable Design and Hold to It: A basic structural design underlies every kind of writing. Writers will in part follow this design, in part deviate from it, according to their skills, their needs, and the unexcepted events that accompany the act of
composition. Writing, to be effective, must follow closely the thoughts of the writer, but not necessarily in the order in which those thoughts occurthe first principle of composition, therefore, is to foresee or determine the shape of what is to come and pursue that shape. Strunk Jr., William and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, 4 ed. New York; Pearson (2000), p. 15. Selected Bibliography & Contact See handout for selected bibliography
Click Here for Handout Contact: Brian M. DeFriez 208-459-9166 [email protected] www.idaholegaldrafting.com Note: many of the images herein were purchased by Brian DeFriez on a limited use license. Please do not copy or reproduce any images. Thanks for Attending Any Questions?
The EPSC-JRC project on resilience The EPSC-JRC project on resilience A resilient society aims to sustain its level of individual and societal wellbeing in an intergenerationally fair distribution, i.e. ensuring current wellbeing without seriously compromising that of future generations.
David M, Schwartau I, Anand Pant H, Borde T. Emergency outpatient services in the city of Berlin: Factors for appropriate use and predictors for hospital admission. Eur J Emerg Med. 2006;13(6):352-7. 10.
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