Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates

Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates

by Ross Guberman
Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates

Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates

by Ross Guberman

Paperback(New Edition)

    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


With Point Made, legal writing expert, Ross Guberman, throws a life preserver to attorneys, who are under more pressure than ever to produce compelling prose. What is the strongest opening for a motion or brief? How to draft winning headings? How to tell a persuasive story when the record is dry and dense? The answers are "more science than art," says Guberman, who has analyzed stellar arguments by distinguished attorneys to develop step-by-step instructions for achieving the results you want.

The author takes an empirical approach, drawing heavily on the writings of the nation's 50 most influential lawyers, including Barack Obama, John Roberts, Elena Kagan, Ted Olson, and David Boies. Their strategies, demystified and broken down into specific, learnable techniques, become a detailed writing guide full of practical models. In FCC v. Fox, for example, Kathleen Sullivan conjures the potentially dangerous, unintended consequences of finding for the other side (the "Why Should I Care?" technique). Arguing against allowing the FCC to continue fining broadcasters that let the "F-word" slip out, she highlights the chilling effect these fines have on America's radio and TV stations, "discouraging live programming altogether, with attendant loss to valuable and vibrant programming that has long been part of American culture."

Each chapter of Point Made focuses on a typically tough challenge, providing a strategic roadmap and practical tips along with annotated examples of how prominent attorneys have resolved that challenge in varied trial and appellate briefs. Short examples and explanations with engaging titles—"Brass Tacks," "Talk to Yourself," "Russian Doll"—deliver weighty materials with a light tone, making the guidelines easy to remember and apply.

In addition to all-new examples from the original 50 advocates, this Second Edition introduces eight new superstar lawyers from Solicitor General Don Verrilli, Deanne Maynard, Larry Robbins, and Lisa Blatt to Joshua Rosencranz, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Judy Clarke, and Sri Srinvasan, now a D.C. Circuit Judge. Ross Guberman also provides provocative new examples from the Affordable Care Act wars, the same-sex marriage fight, and many other recent high-profile cases. Considerably more commentary on the examples is included, along with dozens of style and grammar tips interspersed throughout. Also, for those who seek to improve their advocacy skills and for those who simply need a step-by-step guide to making a good brief better, the book concludes with an all-new set of 50 writing challenges corresponding to the 50 techniques.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199943852
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 04/04/2014
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 424
Sales rank: 38,991
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ross Guberman is president of Legal Writing Pro, an advanced legal-writing training and consulting firm. He has worked with thousands of attorneys at more than 100 of the world's largest and most prestigious law firms and for dozens of state and federal agencies and bar associations. Guberman is also a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School, and he holds degrees from Yale, the Sorbonne, and The University of Chicago Law School. Before founding Legal Writing Pro, Guberman worked as a musician, lawyer, translator, editor, and journalist. He has also commented on law, business, and lawyer development for major newspapers, radio stations, trade publications, and television networks, and he has addressed several major international conferences as well.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xxi

Introduction xxiii

The Theme 1
1. Brass Tacks: "Explain who, what, when, where, why, how"
2. The Short List: Number your path to victory
3. Why Should I Care? : Give the court a reason to want to find for you
4. Don't Be Fooled : Draw a line in the sand

The Tale
5. Panoramic Shot : Set the stage and sound your theme
6. Show, Not Tell : Let choice details speak for themselves
7. Once Upon a Time : Replace dates with phrases that convey a sense of time
8. Headliners : Use headings to break up your fact section and to add persuasive effect
9. Back to Life : Center technical matter on people or entities
Interlude: Gauging your brief's readability
10. Poker Face : Concede bad facts, but put them in context
11. End with a Bang : Leave the court with a final image or thought

The Meat
Using Headings
12. Russian Doll: Nest your headings and subheadings
13. Heads I Win, Tails You Lose : Argue in the alternative
Interlude: Love "because"
Structuring the Sections
14. Sneak Preview : Include an umbrella paragraph before your headings and subheadings
15. Wish I Were There : Start each paragraph by answering a question you expect the court to have
16. Sound Off : Start the paragraphs with numbered reasons
17. Long in the Tooth : Say "me too"
18. Peas in a Pod : Link your party with the party in the cited case
19. Mince Their Words : Merge pithy quoted phrases into a sentence about your own case
20. One Up : Claim that the case you're citing applies even more to your own dispute
21. Interception : Claim that a case your opponent cites helps you alone
22. Rebound : "Re-analogize" after the other side tries to distinguish
23. Not Here, Not Now : Lead with the key difference between your opponent's case and your own
24. One Fell Swoop : Distinguish a line of cases all at once
25. Not So Fast : Show that the case doesn't apply as broadly as your opponent suggests
26. Authority Problems : Suggest that the case deserves little respect
Using Parentheticals
27. Ping Me : Introduce your parentheticals with parallel participles
28. Speak for Yourself : Include a single-sentence quotation
29. Hybrid Model : Combine participles and quotations
Introducing Block Quotations
30. Lead 'Em On : Introduce block quotations by explaining how the language supports your argument
Using Footnotes
Interlude: Citations in footnotes
31. Race to the Bottom : Use footnotes only in moderation to address related side points and to add support

The Words
Liven Up the Language
32. Zingers : Colorful verbs
33. What a Breeze : Confident tone
34. Manner of Speaking : Figures of speech
35. That Reminds Me : Examples and analogies
Jumpstart Your Sentences
36. The Starting Gate : The one-syllable opener
37. Size Matters : The pithy sentence
38. Freight Train : The balanced, elegant long sentence
39. Leading Parts : Two sentences joined as one
40. Talk to Yourself : The rhetorical question
41. Parallel Lives : The parallel construction
Creative Punctuation
42. A Dash of Style : The dash
Interlude: The hyphen
43. Good Bedfellows : The semicolon
44. Magician's Mark : The colon
Seamless Flow
45. Take Me by the Hand : Logical connectors
110 Transition Words and Phrases
46. Bridge the Gap : Linked paragraphs
Visual Appeal
Interlude: Looking good
47. Join My Table : Tables and charts
48. Bullet Proof : Bullet points and lists

The Close
The Last Word
49. Parting Thought : End the argument with a provocative quotation or pithy thought
50. Wrap-Up : Recast your main points in a separate conclusion

The Top Fifty Advocates: Biographies
How to Write the Perfect Brief: Fifty Techniques
Step One: The Theme
Step Two: The Tale
Step Three: The Meat
Step Four: The Words
Step Five: The Close
Twenty Best Quotes from Judges
Annotated Models
Before-and-after section from Jones v. Clinton
Alaska v. EPA
MercExchange v. eBay


From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews