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WRITING ARGUMENTS 1

WRITING THE INTRODUCTION AND HEADINGS

1. Always include an introduction of a page or less.

All filings should have a first-page, introductory summary, whether the rules
require one or not. In this introduction, you want to frame the case and
issues in the ways most favorable to your side.
Since this is the first thing a judge reads, it is often the most significant part
of your brief. To be sure, selecting one theme out of many in a complex
case can be tough. Without an initial focus, however, it is difficult for judges
to get a handle on where the case is heading.

2. Make your headings specific and persuasive.

Argument headings should convince readers by themselves. The due


Process Argument does nothing for a reader, nor does Smiths Due
Process Rights Were Violated, since it makes no memorable argument that
applies only to your case. What you want to say is more like Smiths Due
Process Rights Were Violated When She Was Fired as a Teacher without
Being Given Notice or a Hearing.
If you are using the CRAC style accurately, your heading should be a pithy
synopsis of the first paragraph of the argument that follows. This I s
repetitive, but theres no harm in repeating the point of a section. Some
judges may not read the heading or, worse, may read only the heading
without the argument to follow.
While you want to be argumentative, you also want to be evenhanded. Use
few adverbs in headings, and use only those adjectives you need to state
the argument accurately. Headings can be more than a sentence if
necessary, though a paragraph is too long.

WORK HABITS OF LITIGATORS

1. No brief should be written by a committee.

At most, you want two authors with compatible styles writing a brief in close
consultation with each other. You can use others for specific research
projects, but when the drafting starts, a brief needs a unitary style.
WRITING ARGUMENTS 2

2. Writers should do most of their own research.

Its fine to farm out discrete projects to others, but the process of research
inevitably a consideration of how the argument will be structured. If
someone else does this work, the overall product suffers. Remember that
we use our research not only to figure out what we should say but how we
should say it. Style is inseparable from substance.

3. Be careful to Web search.

Be wary of what you find on the web. After all, it was Abraham Lincoln who
said, The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if
they were genuine.

4. In office Litigation divisions, separate the writers from the speakers.

Law offices would be better off creating two litigation divisions, one for the
trial lawyers who appear before juries and whose main skills are speaking
and acting, and another for those whose strength is writing and appear
mostly before judges.
The two skills dont often go together. A person can be both a good speaker
and a good writer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., comes to mind but its
rare.
In any trial, at least two attorneys should be assigned to the case one
who is strong in writing and one whose skills lie on the oral side. The main
author of a brief, however, should be the person who makes the oral
argument to a judge, since he/she knows the case better than anyone else.

5. Always try to read a good brief in your substantive area before writing
one.

Not all cases would be familiar to you. Thus, it is better to read, read, and
read before creating your own brief. It helps you construct ideas smoothly
and spontaneously. Moreover, being acquainted with the issue of case, aids
you to think and build a stronger argument.

Reported by:
JESSICA JOYCE P. PEALOSA
JD 1-4