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Avoid Hyperbole

There is nothing worse than reading a brief that is filled to the brim with over-the-top exposition and exploitive narrative detail. It does not bolster your argument – it dampens your argument.

By forcing a reader to navigate sentimental adjectives and impassioned turns of phrase, you are removing the focus of the brief from your argument to your prose. While such a tactic might hold some weight when making an oral argument before a jury, it instead comes across as amateurish and impertinent when delivered in a written brief to a court.

That’s not to say that you should not attempt to write boldly or with zeal, but rather that any creativity in your writing should be expressed by means of carefully constructing and crafting your arguments – funneling the reader to a compelling conclusion.

More steak, less sizzle.

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About Keith Lee

I'm the founder and editor of Associate's Mind. I like to write, talk, and think about law, professional development, technology, and whatever else floats my boat. I practice law in Birmingham, AL.

3 comments

  1. Too many law students are okay at rhetoric, but suck at logic. They don’t understand the difference between making an impassioned argument and making a well reasoned one.

    The jury may be enthralled about your discussion of truth, justice, and the American way, but the judge will throw out your case when the defense argues for a directed verdict on the grounds that you didn’t prove one of the elements of your claim.

    • I also think that many just don’t care. They think an ethos based argument is a valid one. Or they know it’s wrong and don’t care to take the time to improve their writing.

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