Posts Tagged ‘relevant facts’

Good Legal Writing

30 Jul

What is good legal writing?

I want you to think about this question … hard and long!

What is your goal?

  • Impress the judge?
  • Confuse the opponent?
  • Or, win the case?

Everything we do in life has in one sense or another a particular goal. Some things we do are automatic, like breathing, yet there is always a goal. In business, the goal is to provide a benefit to others. In sports, the goal is to perform to the highest of our athletic ability. In law, the goal is to make a winning record in writing!

Many lawyers and most pro se litigants miss this point … they get sidetracked with unimportant distractions!

Every word spoken in a courtroom or written on paper filed with the clerk or served on the other side must aim toward this specific goal.

All words that aren’t aimed at making a winning record must go!

Since 1997 when Jurisdictionary began, people have sent documents for review. In all but a few the punch, power, and persuasive effect could be improved by eliminating 90% of the words and by keeping only those aimed at making a winning record.

Most of what came for review read more like the writer was trying to tell a story, rather than trying to make a winning court record of relevant facts and controlling law!

Learn from Jurisdictionary step-by-stepLegal writing is NOT story-telling!

Any fact that’s not “relevant” and any law that’s not “controlling” should be eliminated.

I rebuilt a few car engines in my youth. I removed bolts, nuts, gaskets, and pins. I placed the removed parts on a sheet of cardboard on the floor of my garage. All was arranged neatlyin order. When the time came to put the engine back together, every part had a place, and that’s where I put each part … in its place!

A place for every part. Every part in its place.

I didn’t add any parts! I didn’t leave any parts out!

That’s good legal writing!

Every word has a purpose … to make your winning record.

More years ago than I like to remember, I worked as a reporter for the Tampa Times newspaper. My city editor was ruthless with my writing. I learned from him. Since being admitted to the bar in 1986, I’ve applied what he taught me. “Say what needs to be said then stop!

What was true for newspaper writing is doubly true for legal writing.

Say what needs to be said and stop!

Write like you were “speaking” to an 8th grader. You aren’t Jimmy Buffet. You don’t need a “novelist’s eye” or a “bartender’s ear”. You aren’t telling a story! You’re assembling essential parts of a powerful engine.

That’s what good legal writing does! Each part has a specific purpose.

What I teach will empower your legal paperwork and give you the competitive edge you need to win!


Your Deposition Power

28 May
Know When, Why, and How … 

Explained much more fully in my official Jurisdictionary course, you can slay your opponent with depositions!


Depositions, like other tools in your “Lawyer’s Little Red Toolbox”, are best usedHappy Deposition

  1. At the right time,
  2. For the right reason,
  3. In the right way!

These people are having too good a time!

A deposition is not a friendly coffee-klatch! It is not a “social event”.


Beware of sneaky lawyers, who will try to turn a serious fact-getting process into a “conversation”. Do not allow it. When you see it coming, stop it immediately! Depositions are designed to get at “relevant facts”, but “good lawyers” will try to lull witnesses (called deponents at a deposition) into a false sense of security. They do this to win, not to be “friendly”. They do it to trick the witness into “chatting”, instead of answering distinct, relevant questions.

Next comes the fishing expedition. “I understand you’re quite a golfer, Mr. Deponent.” Beware! The lawyer will set things up to go beyond the scope of deposition discovery. The next thing you know, the witness will be bragging on the exorbitant country club dues he’s been paying. Or, he may tell about his success on the links in Las Vegas last summer. Don’t be duped. The lawyer doesn’t care a thing about the deponent’s golfing. He’s on a fishing expedition. He’s after something else.

Here’s the rule that constrains depositions to the facts (explained more fully in my official Jurisdictionary course):

The scope of discovery (requests for admissions, requests for production, interrogatories, depositions, and subpoenas) is limited by the rules to finding facts that are “reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence”!

A golfer’s handicap has nothing to do with his mortgage or child support or where he was last summer!

Say, “Objection! Goes beyond the scope of discovery!”

If the other side continues to abuse the rule, you have the right to terminate the deposition and file a motion with the court for an order directing the lawyer to keep within the rule.

On one occasion in my 25 year career as a case-winning attorney, the lawyer on the other side was so devious and his client (an insurance company executive) so evasive, that I obtained an order from the court appointing a special master to oversee the deposition and rule on my objections then-and-there. I got my evidence out of that executive, and the insurance company settled the day before trial!

In another case the opposing lawyer was so ridiculous, I was required to move the court for an order to hold the deposition in front of the judge in the courtroom! That was the end of the tricks and games.

There’s much more you need to know to successfully use depositions in your case, but I’ll leave that to the course.

If you don’t already have my powerful Jurisdictionary course, now is the time to ORDER … before the price increase!

You need to know:

  1. When (knowing what facts to get beforehand),
  2. Why (knowing what critical facts you need), and
  3. How (knowing much more about technique).Learn from Jurisdictionary step-by-step

When I first started learning 25 years ago what I make easy for you to learn with my affordable Jurisdictionary self-help course, the business of law was often confusing and overwhelming. Getting my feet wet as a fledgling lawyer, I often had to go up against lawyers who had as much experience as I have now, and they didn’t cut me any slack. The advantage I had over younger lawyers (I didn’t start my practice until age 42) was down-home common sense and life experience. All those years at a snooker table in my early life paid off, so I learned quickly how to get around the traps and tricks of my opponents. In the past quarter-century I learned what it takes to win!

It’s not all about the law, you see!

It’s all about knowing how to use the rules!

The substantive law that applies to any particular case is always easy to find, identify, and cite in a way that will control the judge.

The procedural law, on the other hand (evidence rules and rules of procedure) are like a recipe … for success or failure!

You can know the “law” about the facts of your case. You can cite and recite it backward and forward. You can convince your friends and family members that you have the law “on your side”.


If you don’t yet know what I explain in my affordable and increasingly popular 24-hour step-by-step Jurisdictionary course, you will still lose!

I want to help you!

Far too many good people lose in court because they don’t know how to control the lawyer on the other side or the black-robed judge on the bench. They may, indeed, have the “law on their side”, but if they don’t know how to control a deposition (for just one small example) or when to proceed to deposition or how to draft a proper motion or why it’s important to make courtroom objections (for just a few additional examples) they lose … needlessly!

Please don’t lose your lawsuit just to save $249.

My 3-years at law school cost several tens of thousands of dollars. No price can be put on the practical experience I gained defeating crooked lawyers by controlling arrogant or outright corrupt judges in-the-trenches for 25-years!

Now, my education and experience can be yours!

It’s all in my affordable and increasingly popular 24-hour step-by-stepofficial Jurisdictionary course.

If you don’t already have it, get it now!