Show the Brief: Visual Writing Strategies & Techniques
In Show the Brief: Visual Writing Strategies and Techniques, trial lawyer and law professor William S. Bailey teaches you how to create legal briefs that powerfully demonstrate the facts of your case in a more effective, and more persuasive, manner.
Over the last twenty-five years, the roles of both trial lawyers and judges have changed. Federal and state procedural rules encourage settlements more and more, often requiring pretrial discovery and alternative dispute resolution. Fewer cases go to trial today than they once did. As judges become increasingly willing to make sweeping pretrial rulings, either granting summary judgment on critical issues—or even out right dismissing a case—the stakes in pretrial motion practice have greatly increased. This has become particularly true in federal court, where outcomes are often far less favorable to plaintiffs overall.
In the intense, busy world of deciding civil cases on crowed dockets, briefs have become more important than ever: Most of the time, judges know how they are going to rule in a case after reading the briefs. They politely let you make your arguments, only to then announce the ruling knew they were going to make at the outset.
Briefs are your best shot to tell the judge why you should win, and why your opponent should lose. The court’s ruling will be driven by your case story and how it plays within the judge’s life experience, values, and understanding of the law.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers no longer have the luxury of reflexively sticking to tradition. You must take your best shot the first time, every time, in all pleadings and documents that you file with the court. The emphasis that once rested on trial now has shifted to pretrial, with depositions and motions often determining the way your case turns out. The time has come for you to use every tool you have in every aspect of your practice—not just during trial and trial preparation, but in each of the pleadings and briefs you file with the court. This means adopting the latest communications lessons from other professions and learning from the latest research in applied psychology to best present your case in every brief you file.
Legal practice, Legal writing, Trial lawyering, Briefs, Visual images, Evidence
Evidence | Legal Writing and Research
William S. Bailey,
Show the Brief: Visual Writing Strategies & Techniques,
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-books/78