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Effective Brief Writing Despite High Volume Practice: Ten Misconceptions that Result in Bad Briefs

23 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2007  

Sarah E. Ricks

Rutgers School of Law - Camden

Jane L. Istvan

City of Philadelphia Law Department

Abstract

This article can help lawyers (and law students) avoid ten of the most common ways to write a bad brief.

There is an art to writing effective briefs and each brief is different. But many ineffective briefs contain the same mistakes, regardless of the brief's subject matter or the brief's intended judicial audience. Many recurring brief writing errors may be caused by the demands of a high volume law practice, which allow little time for the brief writer to achieve the critical distance from the document necessary to edit and revise effectively.

Lawyers can avoid committing many common brief writing errors if they are more able to put themselves in the place of their intended readers, the busy judge and the often inexperienced law clerk. Understanding recurring brief writing misconceptions and errors can assist lawyers in assessing the effectiveness of a brief from the perspective of the intended reader.

Keywords: legal writing, brief writing, advocacy, appellate advocacy, editing, judicial audience

Suggested Citation

Ricks, Sarah E. and Istvan, Jane L., Effective Brief Writing Despite High Volume Practice: Ten Misconceptions that Result in Bad Briefs. University of Toledo Law Review, Vol. 38, p. 1113, Summer 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=996907

Sarah E. Ricks (Contact Author)

Rutgers School of Law - Camden ( email )

NJ
United States
856-225-6419 (Phone)
856-225-6516 (Fax)

Jane L. Istvan

City of Philadelphia Law Department ( email )

1515 Arch Street
17th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102-1595
United States

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