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Brief Writing in Oregon

A guide to stylistic and procedural resources for persons writing briefs for the Oregon Appellate courts.

Making your Legal Argument

When you are writing your brief you are making a legal argument. This is a special kind of argument that is very different than day-to-day arguments with non-lawyers. Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner note the objectives of such an argument in their introduction to Making your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges.

Judges can be persuaded when three conditions are met:

  1. They must have a clear idea of what you're asking the court to do.
  2. They must be assured that it's within the court's power to do it.
  3. After hearing the reasons for doing what you are asking, and the reasons for doing other things or doing nothing at all, they must conclude that what you're asking is best -- both in your case and in cases that will follow

This kind of argument can be difficult for even experienced attorneys

The following books are also useful guides to methods and techniques of effective legal arguments.

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