Garner's Guide to Making Briefs More Persuasive: Tip 3 - When first working on a writing project


Here's another tip from Bryan A. Garner's The Winning Brief: 100 Tips for Persuasive Briefing in Trial and Appellate Courts.

Take copious notes while trying to come up with imaginative approaches to conveying your argument.

In this third tip, Garner gives examples of attorneys who began briefs in particularly creative ways.

1. With a simile - an appellant who awaits a decision on his appeal in an asylum case is like the cosmonauts who rocketed up to the Mir space stations as Soviet citizens, but came down as citizens of Russia. His home country is a different place than it was when the case began.

2. With an erudite metaphor - a Court is said to have conducted a Renaissance by rediscovering ancient texts and using them to justify a bold new view of real property law.

3. With a play in which the characters lampoon the impact of a decision construing an antitrust law as preventing predatory pricing, without establishing a coherent test for determining when such pricing is taking place.

Garner cautions that only very good writers can get away with employing such techniques. When trying to generate ideas about how best to make a point, try to think of good illustrations, analogies, or diagrams. If something works particularly well, use it!

It's common to get frustrated in trying to find the right approach, but sooner or later a breakthrough will come.