Legal Writing Tip - Fact Persuasion Techniques
This week my class looked at a sample set of Statements of Facts in opposing briefs. We identified some fact persuasion techniques that were used well. They are all good techniques to consider using if you are writing a Statement of Facts.
1. Writing the statement of facts from the client's viewpoint.
2. Juxtaposing material adverse facts with material favorable facts in order to deemphasize the adverse facts.
3. Using name and title to humanize the client.
4. Using a descriptive term rather than names to dehumanize certain people or entities related to the opposing party.
5. Using detailed description to emphasize favorable facts.
6. Using concrete nouns and verbs to emphasize favorable facts.
7. Using the passive voice to intentionally hide the actor.
8. Using a brief quotation for emphasis.
Generally, repetition can also be used as a fact persuasion technique. We noticed, however, that one brief had repeatedly used a specific adjective to describe the opposing party. We felt the adjective was overused. This serves as a reminder that fact persuasion techniques should be used judiciously to be effective; if the technique is apparent to the reader, it may fail to persuade.
I would like to thank all of my students for identifying these techniques in use!