Transcriptionists know what clients expect – deadlines met, affordable rates, confidentiality, and guaranteed accuracy. That may be a lot to ask, but professional transcriptionists handle enough material over time that they could advise a lawyer how to write a legal brief that wins.
- Just the facts!
A clear statement of the Case and Facts starts the best briefs. Well presented, the statement of facts reduces the argument. The very first thing the Court should see is your reason why your client should prevail.
Brief means brief – concise, clear, and catchy.
- Use direct and assertive simple sentences. Keep compound or complex sentences at a minimum.
- Choose the simplest word forms the case permits.
- Prefer active verbs.
- Edit punctuation until follows the guidelines of a credible style-guide.
- Be specific with dates, dollars, and details.
- Follow correct citation form.
- Get organized!
Poor organization shows that you do not know what you are doing. Good organization is easy to master.
- Reduce any argument to a syllogism. State what the law is. Explain how your facts apply to the law.
- Arrange facts as a narrative, preferably chronological.
- Include negative as well as positive facts.
- Keep it clean!
There may be a temptation to over-argue and overwrite.
- Demonstrate how the law applies. Let the law and the facts stand on their own.
- Adverbs always imply a judgment on your part, and that is not the brief’s purpose.
- Adjectives color and characterize, and a brief is not the place for the dramatic and emotional.
- Avoid issues of tone, such as sarcasm, pejoration, and accusation.
- Write the opinion!
Visualize the decision as you want it published. Imagine a just, fair opinion that rules in your client’s favor. In doing so, you pay respect to the court, partner with the judge and clerks, and save them time and energy.
- Edit more than once!
It is absolutely certain that you will not get it right the first time.
- Proofread structure, spelling, punctuation, language and syntax.
- Seek input and feedback from a colleague.
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