It can be tough to make enough time to write your motions and briefs in the midst of a busy trial schedule. But that is no excuse for ignoring your introductory paragraph. Instead, busyness should be reason number 1 to carefully craft the introduction – the busyness of your judge.
Far too many lawyers throw away an important opportunity to get judges on their side while writing motions and briefs. Uniformly, the opening of motions are something like:
NOW COMES the Defendant, John Doe, and in support of his motion states:
But far too few take advantage of their introduction to tell the judge what it is they want. Consider this alternative:
NOW COMES the Defendant, John Doe, and asks this court to stay the income withholding order until an accounting on the satisfaction of the judgment can be provided. In support of his motion, Defendant states:
With one quick, carefully crafted sentence, you can tell your judge what you are asking for and why. This will give the judge a starting point from which to consider all the facts and circumstances you include in your motion. Rather than making your judge gradually deduce what you need him or her to do, you put the request out there and then back it up with why.
The same principle applies to your legal briefs too. Rather than skipping straight to the Statement of Facts, create a separate Introduction section. By putting a summary of your legal arguments right up front it will help your busy judge understand what to expect. It also allows you to frame the question and lead the judge to the conclusions you want him or her to make.
The introduction to your motion or brief is very important, especially once the pleading makes its way into the hands of a busy judge. Take the time to craft a careful introduction – whether a sentence or a summary paragraph – so the judge can clearly understand what you’re asking for and will be more likely to agree with you.
If you need help crafting well-written motions and briefs, contact ghost-writer Lisa Schmidt.