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The Winning Brief: 100 Tips for Persuasive Briefing in Trial and Appellate Courts 2nd Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195170757
ISBN-10: 019517075X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A thoroughly valuable and original reference for lawyers who want to win. It deserves a spot on every litigator's bookshelf."--The Federal Lawyer

"All judges should attach a copy of The Winning Brief to each briefing schedule they order from the bench.... A valuable addition to any library with legal writing resources."--Legal Information ALERT

"A book on 'writing' should be fun to read. In his book, Garner makes his teaching fun with the use of examples and quotations.... The more time you spend with this book, the more persuasive you arguments could be, whether in support of a otion in limine or in support of habeas corpus."--The Colorado Lawyer

"The profession badly needs an accessible primer for advice on and solutions to the most common problems. Bryan Garner's The Winning Brief: 100 Tips for Persuasive Briefing in Trial and Appellate Courts is just such text. All lawyers who rely upon written argument in their practices shoud have a copy of the book close at hand."--New York Law Journal

About the Author


A best-selling legal author with more than a dozen titles to his credit, Bryan Garner is also the editor-in-chief of Black's Law Dictionary in all of its current editions. He has taught at numerous law schools, and is the president of LawProse, Inc., a Dallas-based company that provides writing and drafting seminars to lawyers and judges throughout the United States.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (May 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019517075X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195170757
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 1.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Barer on October 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My practice focuses on law-and-motion and appellate law. Well-written and persuasive briefs are my bread and butter. Garner's book helps me butter the bread. I have several of Bryan Garner's books (The Elements of Legal Style; A Dictionary for Modern Legal Usage; his two editions of Black's), but this is the one that has had the biggest influence on my brief writing. I received it at one of his brief-writing seminars. Since I attended the seminar and read the book, the quality of my briefs has increased exponentially. Garner guides the brief writer from the initial planning stages, through framing the issues (invaluable!), editing, punctuation, word choice, tips for impact (don't start a sentence with "however"; use "but," "although", or insert the "however" after the subject), and even technical tips about formatting (e.g. using bulleted lists.) I recommend it wholeheartedly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I became familiar with this book in law school and it has helped me tremendously. It debunks the myths about which practices are truly expected in briefs and which provide more latitude and freedom for legal writers.

The information is presented in 100 easy-to-understand "tips." Each tip provides quotes from judges, legal scholars, and other literary figures who help to explain why a particular facet of writing is important. Garner also includes examples, oftentimes what-to-do's and what-not-to-do's.

The format of the book makes it easy and helpful to use and the information is invaluable. It's like an advanced course in legal writing.

Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
One misses the point of Mr. Garner's book if they think this is another treatise on brief writing. Mr. Garner's approach, though commonsensical, is sorely needed in the legal world. So many briefs are too long, too boring, and too obtuse to be of any use. Granted one need not follow all of Mr. Garner's tips, such as footnotes, but if you follow most of them, you will end up with a brief that is not a chore to read, succinctly informs the judge of the issue and why she should rule in your favor. This book is definitely for people who think they already know how to write a brief, and who don't need any book to help them do so (and who also most likely churn out boring, difficult to read briefs). There is a world of difference between a typical brief and the type that Mr. Garner envisions. By the way, anyone who has not taken Mr. Garner's course should. He is one of the best public speakers and teachers you will ever encounter.
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Format: Hardcover
The Winning Brief is essential reading for any lawyer who cares about writing clearly and persuasively. As a litigation partner and trial lawyer, I am always looking to improve my own skills and find that Bryan Garner's comments are clear and practical. I strongly recommend The Winning Brief because it goes well beyond many texts that discuss generalisms on trial and appellate briefs--Mr. Garner provides instead direct insight into how to move the trier of fact.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this book, but I am very disappointed in the Kindle edition. So be warned.

I wanted a Kindle version of this terrific book because I wanted my own copy (I have borrowed a colleague's hard copy), and with my Kindle and iPad, I would always have it handy. As a way to read the book, this is great and helpful. But as a REFERENCE tool, it is nearly useless. There is no comprehensive table of contents to help you refer to past chapters to brush up on a particular topic. And the subject index--which is included--doesn't work. For example, when I look up "Mr., Ms. Mrs.," it refers to chapter 55 (which is right). But the link takes you to page 55, which is in the middle of chapter 8 and far from where you need to be. This simply isn't useful unless you are reading it only straight through.
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Format: Hardcover
Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief for the latest edition of Black's Law Dictionary, is one of America's foremost proponents of the "plain English" movement in the law. In The Winning Brief, Mr. Garner distills the principles found in his seminars and his other books (such as The Elements of Legal Style) and channels them toward one goal: helping the reader write better legal briefs.
The Winning Brief presents its advice in the form of 100 tips, each followed by quotations, commentary, and examples. The tips follow the chronological order of a writing project, from initial brainstorming to proofreading. The tips are listed inside the front and rear covers for quick reference.
Mr. Garner's advice has contributed directly to my practice. I have applied his advice in writing four summary judgment motions; two were granted, while the other two led to favorable settlements for my clients.
The reader is sure to find at least one or two tips that can be applied immediately to a current writing project. Not only that, but Mr. Garner's advice can be applied to other non-fiction writing projects. In sum, I heartily recommend this book to all attorneys who hope to be more persuasive in their writing.
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Format: Hardcover
This volume is by far the best work available on legal writing. Most of Prof. Garner's advice applies not merely to briefs but to memos, letters, and other persuasive or analytical forms. His chapters take you through every step of writing, from the earliest, painful efforts to collect your thoughts, through outlining, issue-framing, structuring an argument, and finally the specifics of sentence structure, word choice, and punctuation. Unlike many writing manuals, this book places emphasis where it is really needed: not on mechanics, but on the large structural tasks that can make or break a project. While some of Prof. Garner's formatting suggestions may not be acceptable in many jurisdictions, his more general advice -- the real reason for buying this book -- will be helpful everywhere.
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