Thursday, June 2, 2016

Advice on Writing to Persuade the Court

In her article, Standing in the Judge’s Shoes: Exploring Techniques to

Help Legal Writers More Fully Address the Needs of TheirAudience, Sherri Lee Keene argues that lawyers writing as advocates need to place themselves in the shoes of the judges whom they seek to persuade. Of course, this is not new advice. What is helpful here is her advice on how to do it. She offers three pieces of advice:

  1. Critique Prior Decisions and the Briefs That Contributed to These Decisions
  2. Practice the Oral Argument While Writing the Brief
  3. Be the Judge and Decide the Case

She concludes:

It is important that legal writers not only consider who their legal audience is, but also work actively to gauge the audience’s needs in order to address them more accurately and completely in their writing. While many attorneys understand the importance of writing in anticipation of the legal audience’s response, even experienced attorneys may struggle to see their case from a different perspective and to identify the challenges of their case. Thus, strategies such as those discussed in this Essay, which help writers to step outside of the attorney role and stand in the shoes of the decision-maker, are important steps toward better legal writing.

You can read Professor Keene’s article here.


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