Tag Archives: Legal Writing

The McNaughton Rules: Think Like a Judge; Write Like A Judge

Michael McNaughton 
Michael McNaughton
April 13, 2015

A cardinal rule for any form of persuasive writing is to “know your audience.” Too often, lawyers forget this.

When writing a legal brief, remember that your primary audience is the judge who will decide the matter. Your audience is not the opposing counsel or party (they will never agree with your position), nor is it your client (the brief is written for your client, not to him or her). Understand that when ruling on any matter, a judge is looking for an outcome that is grounded in law, fair, reasoned, and respectful to the parties. Your brief should adopt that perspective by persuading the judge that your position meets those criteria.

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