Category Archives: Legal Writing Tips

Legal Writing Tip

Legal Writing Tip: Include a Summary of Argument

By Savannah Blackwell Under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, opening briefs must include a summary of argument that appears after the statement of the issues and the statement of…

Legal Writing Tip: Counter a Multitude of Misstatements with Paralipsis

Savannah Blackwell As we discussed last month, the deflating opener, also called the swift rejoinder, can take the wind out of an opposing brief replete with insults and overblown rhetoric—in…

Legal Writing Tip: Counter the “Rambo” Writer with a “Deflating Opener”

By Savannah Blackwell What should you do if your opponent, in her opposing brief, insults your arguments, or attacks your integrity in making them? What should you do if your…

Legal Writing Tip: Never Insult Your Opponents or Their Arguments

By Savannah Blackwell If you wish to be taken seriously by the court, whether in oral or written argument, never malign or belittle your opponents or their position. Treat opposing…

Legal Writing Tip: Seriously, Just Use the Serial Comma

By Savannah Blackwell, BASF Bulletin Contributor Of all punctuation marks, the comma is the one most often debated in courthouses; its presence or absence in statutes and other legal texts…

Legal Writing Tip: Statement of Facts, Part Two

By Savannah Blackwell BASF Bulletin Contributor When writing the statement of facts, choose your material wisely, set it forth clearly, and end it with a kick. Many judges consider a…

Legal Writing Tip: Write Your Statement of Facts in the Form of a Narrative

By Savannah Blackwell BASF Bulletin Contributor The first step in writing a compelling statement of facts for your brief or motion is to prepare a chronology of events in the…

Legal Writing Tip: Make Your Headings and Subheadings Full Sentences

By Savannah Blackwell BASF Bulletin Contributor When writing your brief, craft the section and subsection headings in complete, informative sentences. It’s a good idea to do this early on, at…

Legal Writing Tip: Start Your Brief with a Solid Introduction

By Savannah Blackwell BASF Bulletin Contributor If you do not begin your brief with an issue statement, that is, a syllogism ending in a question, then open with an introduction…

Legal Writing Tip: Start Your Brief With the “Deep” Issue

Savannah Blackwell, BASF Bulletin Contributor November’s column discussed the importance of drafting a clear and concise statement of the main legal question in the case. Framing the issue effectively is,…