Garner's Guide to Making Briefs More Persuasive: Tip 4 - Start Your Brief With a Nonlinear Outline

Garner's Guide to Making Briefs More Persuasive: Tip 4 - Start Your Brief With a Nonlinear Outline

April 6, 2020

 

 

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

 

Garner recommends the use of a nonlinear outline - you are not always finished with one concept, before you move onto the next concept.  Branching outward from the center allows you to easily retrace your steps.  

 

When preparing an outline this way:

 

I. -----------------------

   A. -----------------------

   B.  -----------------------

II. -----------------------

   A. -----------------------

   B. -----------------------

   C. -----------------------

III. -----------------------

IV. -----------------------

 

Ideas which are best placed under the heading I, may end up under heading IV. 

 

In the 'madman' stage of brief writing, Garner recommends creating a whirlybird outline that looks like this:

 

 

Ideas can branch off from the lines that radiate out from the center.  When composing the propositions that your argument depends on, write them down in complete sentences. 

 

A nonlinear outline can help avoid rambling briefs which are internally inconsistent. 

 

 

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