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What are some tips for writing a legal brief?

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Quick Answer

Some tips for writing a legal brief include focusing on the issues rather than personally attacking the other side with name calling as well as researching whether the judge deciding the case previously wrote about the issue. If the judge already wrote an opinion or an article on the topic, tailoring the brief to the judge's personal opinions on the issue can help the brief seem more persuasive, according to the State Bar of Wisconsin.

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Full Answer

Another tip for writing a legal brief is to organize the brief into several smaller parts with unique headings, as Lexis Nexis explains. A facts section should introduce the specific circumstances in the case, and then the author should concisely state the issues the court needs to decide. Then, the author should state the applicable law and explain why the author's side prevails under the law.

A legal brief correctly distinguishes between binding and persuasive authority. An effective legal brief also points the reader to case law that involves the same or a similar set of facts. Cited legal authority in a legal brief that is off point distracts the reader, as the State Bar of Wisconsin indicates.

An outstanding legal brief is concise. Judges recommend that writers try to focus on the main issues rather than try to attack every possible factual possibility or fringe issue that might affect the case even if it is unlikely that the case ultimately hinges on those minor issues, as the State Bar of Wisconsin notes. Writers should also take care to clearly state what relief they want the court to order.

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