Thursday, May 1, 2008

Making Your Case

The next book that I am going to read is called Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges. It is a new book written by Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner. Clink here for Bryan A. Garner's website. He is the founder of LawProse, Inc. He looks like a really smart guy.

Anyway, the book contains specific and valuable advice on how to persuade judges through all stages of your case. It is divided into four main sections: General Principles of Argumentation; Legal Reasoning; Briefing; and Oral Argument. These sections are divided into 115 short paragraphs containing very specific pointers. For instance, chapter titles advise lawyers to "Occupy the Most Defensible Terrain," "Yield Indefensible Terrain," and "Appeal to Justice and Common Sense."

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog recently profiled a couple of good chapers. Yesterday's tip was to "improve your writing by improving your reading." Specifically, by reading literature other than legal opinions. The book quotes Judge Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit when he says that “the best way to become a good legal writer is to spend more time reading good prose. And legal prose ain’t that!"

I'm taking their advice, starting with their book. I'll let you know how it goes.

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