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Your Client's Story: Persuasive Legal Writing

  • Ruth Anne Robbins
  • Steve Johansen
  • Ken Chestek
Series / Aspen Select Series
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Table of contents

Your Client’s Story: Persuasive Legal Writingcenters on the foundations of advocating for a client, with a focus on ways to persuade the reader to grant the relief each client seeks. That sets it apart from other legal writing textbooks, which mainly organize around parts of an appellate brief. Organized to reflect the client-advocacy process that results in written documents, the text begins with meeting the client, moves to investigating the facts, and then provides guidance on analyzing and choosing the appropriate persuasive strategy. The material is rooted in concepts of narrative theory, brain science, and cognitive psychology. The book is written in an easy-to-read, conversational style to guide students through an explanation that classical rhetoric and modern persuasion theory provide the foundation for memorable legal writing. Coverage includes both the trial and appellate levels. By focusing on the process of persuasion, Your Client’s Story: Persuasive Legal Writing creates strong connections between the first-year objectives and the upper-level skills, externship, and clinic courses. Editable versions of the sample briefs appear in the appendices so that professors can tailor them to individual needs.

New to the Second Edition:

  • A new chapter on logical fallacies, unique among legal coursebooks, categorizing and describing 16 common logical fallacies, providing examples and guidance on how to spot and avoid them
  • A new chapter on reasoning with facts (inferential reasoning), covering fact synthesis, weight of facts, and drawing negative inferences from the absence of critical facts
  • Expanded coverage of how to write a powerful conclusion to your brief

Professors and students will benefit from:

  • This book focuses on the question, “How can the lawyer persuade the audience through legal writing?” rather than “What does a brief look like?”
  • This book puts the facts first. It is the only text on the market to devote several chapters to factual research, fact synthesis, and reasoning with facts.
  • The client-centered focus makes this textbook unique in the legal writing market. By learning how to effectively tell “Your Client’s Story,” this book helps students stay grounded in client-based advocacy.
  • The book includes more extensive coverage of visual design than competing books, including a discussion of visualized legal reasoning.
  • The authors have individually and collective written germinal legal scholarship about legal narrative and legal document design. The authors are all prior presidents of the Legal Writing Institute. One of them is the co-editor-in-chief of the legal journal devoted to publishing persuasive-writing articles for practicing attorneys.
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