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May 18 , 2008

Point Made: How to Write Like the Nations Top Advocates


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 nations 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 Americas 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.
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