Writing a Persuasive Legal Brief

This 60-word rule serves as a constant check for readability. Sixty words is about three and a half lines of text. If you see that a sentence is long, revise to avoid the choice of words or decide if it really should be two sentences. Both amendments contribute to clarity. I make an exception for sentences with numbered clauses because: 1) numbers help the reader follow sentence structure, and 2) this sentence format is common in legal writing, where legal rules often take the form of a multifactorial test or analysis. Legal argument EXAMPLE: [Compelling arguments about how the law and facts support the client`s position.] Every detail you include in a briefing should serve you in one way or another. Otherwise, it distracts from your argument. For example, I do not quote proper names other than the parties to the dispute. Instead, I identify individuals by a descriptor such as «personnel specialist», «medical expert of the accused», «duty officer». I do the same with the date and time; I only accept them if they have legal significance. Even then, I explain why they are important. For example, I would write, «The mockery lasted six months after she complained to the human resources department» or «He died two days later.» Eliminating details in this way lightens the cognitive load on your reader and leaves more room to focus on your argument. When writing a response or response, identify your opponent`s argument at the beginning of your counter-argument and refer to the specific page(s) of the opponent`s argument.

For example, you could write: «Defendants falsely claim that» or «Cases invoked by defendants are easily distinguished because.. or «The defendants seem to support this.» and then quote the page numbers in the opposite letter. NOTE: Remember to ALWAYS follow the task memorandum and design instructions. and carefully review which sections to include or omit. For example, instructions often ask you to «write the reasoning section of the briefing.» In this case, you would only write the Legal Reasoning and Conclusion sections (not the Case Etiquette, Case Explanation, and Statement of Facts sections). Don`t make assumptions about the instructions, as you won`t waste time designing a «skipped» section or, conversely, not including a mandatory section. Think carefully about the choice of words for the most important facts of your case. For example, if you want to argue that a company did not adequately address a sexual harassment complaint, don`t write «the investigation,» but you could use «the response» to suggest that no real investigation took place.

Similarly, you would write that the hiring manager «met» or «talked» to the alleged harasser instead of «interviewing» or «interviewing» him. This choice of words should be both subtle and precise, so you can include them in your statement of facts and throughout your briefing to reinforce your argument at every opportunity. Write each heading and subheading as a sentence and write a subject sentence for each paragraph. I cannot stress enough the importance of thematic phrases. They are crucial for clear writing. For the above reasons, the Oak County District Court should order the transfer of Will Fox`s application for guardianship and interim custody to Blackhawk Tribal Court in accordance with ICWA requirements. The applicants, Don and Frances Loden (the «Lodens»), applied for guardianship and temporary placement of Will Fox («WF»), a minor Indian child, as WF`s only living parent, his father, is unable to do so. The Movant, Betty Fox («Fox»), filed a motion to refer the petition to the Blackhawk Tribal Court under the Indian Child Protection Act («ICWA») to determine guardianship and placement and filed her own application for guardianship in the Tribal Court. The Lodens rejected the transfer and asked the court to reject Fox`s request. Document Title EXAMPLE: [The title of your brief (e.g.

Respondent`s arguments in support of the transfer request).] First, topic sentences require you to create a coherent argument. If you use sets of topics for headings and then read only those headings, you can easily judge whether your argument is logical and consistent. For example, the titles in your statement of facts should reflect important points, such as who knew what and when, that are relevant to the next argument, and preview the next argument. The same applies to each paragraph; It should refer to its title. If not, you need to ask yourself where it goes and how it serves your argument. The passive voice hides the actor in the sentence, which distracts from clarity and readability. You get rid of the passive by looking for variations of the verb form «to be» and replacing them with another verb. For example, the verb «was» in the phrase «Your complaint was investigated the following week» mask that conducted the investigation. Instead, write, «Your manager investigated her complaint the following week.» Do this type of revision over and over again until it becomes second nature.

The only exception, of course, is if you want to obscure the actor in one sentence, as in the classic example «mistakes were made.» Below is a template of the typical persuasive memorandum format. ICWA applies to Ms. Fox`s transfer request because WF is an «Indian child», Ms. Fox is an «Indian guardian» and the Lodens seek a «foster home» according to legal definitions. Case Presentation EXAMPLE: [A brief explanation in a paragraph: (i) the parties, (ii) the nature of the case, (iii) the dispute or matter, (iv) the case, and (v) the relief sought.] According to ICWA, a case brought before a state court for the «foster care» of an «Indian child» who does not currently reside or reside on the child`s tribe reservation is transferred to the tribe`s jurisdiction at the request of the «Indian guardian» and without objection from a parent or «good cause» to such transfer in a «retirement home» case. Secondly, topic phrases help your reader tremendously. Topic phrases explain to your reader why you are telling them something that makes them more invested in what you have to say. When I was clerk, when there were long sections with facts or case descriptions, I skimmed over until I got to the point. Without this frame of reference, I was not in a position to judge the information and therefore had little incentive to read carefully. I use these rules when I write, not to edit them later.

This requires me to continually evaluate and clarify my argument. Extra work pays off in persuasion. A. Definition of «Indian Child» and «Indian Guardian» Of course, your description of your opponent`s argument must be correct. Otherwise, not only will you lose credibility, but you may also not respond adequately to the opponent`s point of view. In general, if you are asked to attach an explanation of the case, you should write a short explanation in a paragraph: Note: ALWAYS follow the instructions on your MPT as they may differ for each exam. (See February 2013 MPT-2 [In re Guardianship of Will Fox], File, Guidelines for Drafting Persuasive Briefs, at number 2). The Act creates the presumption that an action for the placement of an Indian child in foster care is transferred without just cause and without objection by one of the parents at the request of the parent of the Indian Custody or Indian Tribe (Section 1911).