Advanced Litigation Writing

Advanced Litigation Writing

Program Goal

This interactive, advanced-level program addresses practical written advocacy at the trial and appellate levels. The program is based both on modern writing techniques and upon the intended audience’s expectations, as gained through numerous interviews of judges. Those who attend will be able to present clearer, more persuasive, more succinct written arguments. In addition, lawyers attending will produce a finished product more quickly and efficiently. The program can be reconfigured to meet the needs of basic or intermediate-level writers, and of those producing persuasive writing, not limited to the litigation context.

Because the program’s emphasizes professionalism and ethical persuasion, those attending will receive CLE ethics credit.

All programs are customized to meet the firm’s needs and may be delivered at intermediate and basic levels.

What You Will Learn:

  • How to deliver, in the first page, an argument which will persuade a judge in the first five minutes.
  • Learn what parts of briefs judges read and which get ignored.
  • Learn what persuades judges and what produces the opposite effect.
  • Write persuasive statements of fact, statements judges want to read.
  • Learn the secret to turning out briefs more quickly and efficiently.
  • Write so page limits will never be a concern.
  • Make ethical persuasion your most powerful tool, so judges look forward to your arguments.

Who Should Take It:

Any lawyer who writes to persuade, whether it is to persuade trial and appellate judges, administrative agencies, opposing parties or clients.


The program comprises nine interconnected modules, each addressing a specific aspect of persuasive and litigation writing. Each module uses a mix of demonstration, brief lecture and hands-on exercises, and may involve small-group discussions. The course design encourages participants’ learning from each other.

Who Should Take It:

To learn more about this workshop and how it can help give the attorneys in your firm a competitive advantage through more powerful writing, contact us.

Course Curriculum:

Following is an example of a typical Advanced Litigation Writing program. Because each program is customized to meet the needs of the firm and the jurisdiction of the firm’s practice, the specific Agenda may vary.

  • Principles of Persuasive Writing
  • The Opening Paragraph: Using Bryan Garner’s Deep-Issue Approach
    - Discussion and demonstration of opening paragraph principle.
    - Redrafting an Opening paragraph from a pre-assigned sample brief
    - Exercise small group drafting
  • The First Page Wins It (or Loses It), The Raymond Approach
    - Discussion and demonstration of Introductions
    - Exercise: drafting introductions
  • Headings, the One Thing Judges Certainly Read
    - Discussion of good and bad headings
    - The Table of Contents as a crucial (and neglected) tool of persuasion
    - Brief drafting exercise
  • Organization
    - Survey of principle methods, advantages and disadvantages
    - Description of assigned organization exercise
  • Statements of Facts
    - Discussion of the persuasion through facts, and of what judges call the most abused part of legal writing
    - Ethics, ethics, ethics
    - Description of assigned fact statement exercise
    - Small group discussion: planning argument and fact statement assignments
  • Drafting Exercises
    - Participants redraft sample arguments using prescribed organization principles
    - Participants redraft simple fact statement
    - Small group discussion and critiques of rewrites
  • Paragraphs and Sentences, the Meat of Writing
    - Discussion and demonstration of sentence construction principles
    - Sentences mini-exercise
    - Discussion and demonstration of paragraph construction principles
    - Paragraphs mini-exercise
  • Style, Turning the Lawyer’s Enemy into the Lawyer’s Friend
    - Style mini-exercises
    - Additional style mini-exercises
  • Trial Court Writing: Writing for the Most Time-Constrained Audience
    - Discussion and demonstration
    - Drafting small group exercise
  • Editing Others’ Work
    - Discussion of checklists and standards of performance
    - Discussion and demonstration of the human elements on delivering feedback, and in encouraging motivation
    - Role play: editing a problem junior associate
  • Techniques of Speed Writing
    - Freewriting
    - Clustering
    - Story line
    - Lowery structure
  • Wrap Up and Review: Turning out an Ethical Argument

About Randy Christison as an Instructor:

“Excellent instructor with an effective and enthusiastic delivery of the subject matter.”

“I highly recommend this program because it takes a practical and realistic approach to legal writing, with outstanding insights of what the readers--especially judges--want and need in deciding cases.”

“A great opportunity to learn how to become a better legal writer from an instructor that knows his stuff. I looked forward to each session.”

“Randy is infectiously enthusiastic.”

About Randy Christison's Articles:

“Randy's articles are practical, stimulating and full of wisdom --definitely worth reading!”
-Larry Brown Manager of Training & Professional Development
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

“These articles are the Cliff's Notes of legal training. Thanks!”
-Professional Development Director
Washington, D.C.


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