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Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges Hardcover – April 28, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0314184719 ISBN-10: 0314184716 Edition: 1st
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Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges + Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates + Legal Writing in Plain English, Second Edition: A Text with Exercises (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Thomson West; 1st edition (April 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0314184716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0314184719
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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165 of 172 people found the following review helpful By Maisy fan on February 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're a trial lawyer handling your first appeal, you should absolutely read this book cover-to-cover. I've practiced solely appellate law for ten years, seen hundreds of appellate arguments, written hundreds of briefs and argued nearly a hundred cases, attended national trainings on appellate practice, and taught hundreds of new attorneys how to handle their first appellate case. I agree with almost everything the authors have to say-- and what credible authors!

My disagreements:
1) Never summarize your case in the "conclusion" section of the brief. They advise this, and note that many disagree with this. I emphatically disagree with it. A conclusion in the body of the point, at its end, may do very well, but the so-called "prayer for relief" section needs to be one sentence that says precisely what you want the court to do, and nothing else. This way the court knows exactly where to flip to find the remedy you're requesting, and doesn't have to parse a page of text to find it.

2) "And its progeny" is hackneyed? What are you supposed to say? This case and all the cases which grew out of it? Sprung from it? Were decided after it and based on it in some way? Terms which they call "hackneyed" are often the quickest and most precise way to phrase something. So just ignore that paragraph.

3) They "skirt" the issue, by failing to skirt the issue, of women's dress. They only say, "wear dark colors." The new female attorneys do not believe me when I say judges expect them to wear skirt suits to court. I've seen women show up in red shirts under striped pantsuits worn with sandals. They believed they looked professional, but really, they had lost ten points in credibility already.
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115 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Tom Carpenter VINE VOICE on May 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am not a lawyer, but I love reading about persuasion and influence. This book caught my attention out of left field, but it certainly added a lot of value to my understanding of persuasion from a logical and argumentative point of view.

Most of the books I've read on persuasion focus on the emotional appeals that move people and mention that you need to give a rational argument for the decision so the persuadee can feel good about it. This book teaches you how to make that rational argument, but it does more than that. It teaches you how to frame the argument before it is made so that it will be more persuasive when it is made. The portion focused on the development of the syllogism was particularly interesting.

Definitely a book that you will want to read whether your are in the legal arena or not - if you want to know how to influence and persuade.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Andrew M. Bianca on June 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Whether or not you agree with Justice Scalia's opinions from the Supreme Court, this book as a primer on briefs and oral argument is excellent. I wish that I had this book for moot court. The brief writing section was far better than any of the books I had to help me. The oral presentation section identified solutions to problems that frustrated me. If you are not a lawyer you will likely find the oral argument section interesting and helpful, but find the minutia of the brief writing section boring. As a lawyer, I will reread this book from time to time.

Justice Scalia recognizes there are other viewpoints; he discusses them but then explains why his view is better.

The book presents all viewpoints and follows with their own and why theirs is better. For example, the book points out that although they believes underlining is a crude throwback to the typewriter , Bluebook approves the use of underlining. The book states that underlining is unnecessary in the 21st century with a word processor. They follow with suggesting that Bluebook should be revised. The book suggests using italics where you would have used underlining. They add that very limited use of italics is far better than liberal use. Justice Scalia's differences of opinions extend to his coauthor.

Bryan Garner, author of Garner's Modern American Usage, The Elements of Legal Style and editor in chief of Black's Law Dictionary did not agree with Justice Scalia on all points. Some section headings state a definite rule, followed by "or not." For example: "Consider using contractions occasionally--or not." These sections take the form of majority opinion vs. minority opinion. Mr. Garner's opinion is presented, Justice Scalia follows with his opinion and his analysis on why Mr.
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64 of 77 people found the following review helpful By rbnn on May 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Simply the best book on legal persuasive writing ever written.

Interesting, useful, fun, full of great anecdotes. Terrific discussion of statutory interpretation. Great references to scholarly classical treatises on rhetoric. This book is wonderful both for its analysis of oral argument and for its discussion of written forms of persuasion, like briefs. I wish I had had it earlier.

My only complaint is the same one I have with virtually all modern style manuals: they advocate a simplistic prose style, characterized by short, conversational sentences, avoiding unusual words, eschewing Latin phrases. But I personally often find prose that breaks these rules a refreshing change. I enjoy reading a word or phrase I rarely see but that is perfectly chosen. And I enjoy learning new words or phrases. This book would condemn two of the greatest legal prose stylists out there: John Marshall and Learned Hand, both of whose opinions often contained sentences that would not work so well conversationally, that were full of long, convoluted sentences and classical allusions. My sense is that in this joint work Justice Scalia, who can write rich and interesting prose, pushed back against some of the simplifying strictures of his co-author.

Furthermore, I think that often too much emphasis on simple words and sentences serves to make more complex ideas too difficult to express or to understand. Thus, the book (like most books) argues against "jargon," but jargon, once learned, is often a much clearer way of expressing something than a rephrasing.

And the Roe v. Wade anecdote is great! It explains a lot...

In any case, I am hardly qualified to criticize Justice Scalia, whose writing is far beyond my own. Anyway, this is a great book.
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Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges
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