Saturday, March 12, 2016
Judith Fischer has written an excellent article on the subject. Judith Fischer, Summing It Up With Panache: Framing a Brief's Summary of the Argument, 48 J. Marshall L. Rev. 991 (2015). She focuses on framing and priming as important techniques:
Two theories, framing theory and priming theory, help explain why the summary is so important. Framing theorists define a frame as a mental structure that provides a lens through which a recipient will “locate, perceive, identify, and label” an experience. The way a point is framed affects what readers focus on when forming their opinions. A similar concept, priming theory, holds that exposing Because the summary of the argument appears near the beginning of a brief, it allows the legal advocate to take advantage of both framing and priming to begin to convince the Court. Thus, it’s a mistake for an advocate to treat the section as an afterthought.
The article offers a number of examples from briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. Professor Fischer concludes:
But art can be observed and appreciated. The examples in this article show how a summary of the argument with some panache can grab a court’s attention. Lifeless wording and cumbersome citations can fall flat, but vibrant language, attention to sentence structure, and a deft appeal to emotion or logic can pique a judge’s interest at the outset of a brief.
You can access the article here.