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Tom Holm Teaches Advanced Persuasive Writing Techniques at Arent Fox LLP

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I recently conducted a legal writing workshop on advanced persuasive writing techniques to attorneys in the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices of Arent Fox LLP. The workshop addressed two related topics:

 
  • Employing advanced persuasive writing and editing techniques; and
  • Organizing and writing persuasive, multi-issue memoranda, including writing persuasive rules, discussions of authority, and factually explicit arguments.

Advanced persuasive writing techniques

In this segment, we discussed using advanced writing and editing techniques in a variety of contexts. It’s easy in writing sessions to default to offering sentence-level techniques and providing short, highly edited excerpts illustrating these techniques. But that narrow focus doesn’t help attorneys apply these techniques in their briefs because they aren’t shown how those techniques can be applied in the context of a complete argument. My program demonstrated how to incorporate and combine these techniques in detailed, integrated writing samples.

Organizing and writing persuasive rules, discussions of authority, and factually explicit arguments

This segment amplified the techniques discussed in the previous segment in the context of providing paradigms and concrete tools to help attorneys effectively organize and write persuasive discussion sections. We examined such issues as the following:

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  • Embracing organizational paradigms to help structure their overall analysis within and among the sub-sections of their discussion sections;
  • Articulating favorable overall rules;
  • Framing concise, factually detailed tests (aka sub-rules) that advance their client’s position;
  • Using parallel construction and substantive transitions to reinforce their tests and highlight favorable facts;
  • Highlighting parallel and weaker facts in the cases to ensure their discussions of authority—and parentheticals—provide as much support for their client’s arguments as possible;
  • Distinguishing contrary authority;
  • Organizing facts under factual propositions;
  • Organizing facts pursuant to the arguments they support; and
  • Weaving seamless arguments combining facts and law.

This segment ended with a rich discussion of my annotated sample sub-sections from two competing briefs. These writing samples illustrated how the same issue on summary judgment could be argued by each party and applied the writing techniques the attorneys were taught during the session.

 

Overall, it was a fun, informative session. I had an engaging conversation with some of the exceptional attorneys at Arent Fox. I appreciated their alacrity and receptivity; they asked insightful questions and made some fantastic comments on the writing samples. Teaching is so much fun in situations like these. I’m grateful I had the chance to work with Arent Fox and am looking forward to my next workshop with its attorneys!

Evaluations

 

I appreciate the very positive evaluations I received for my workshop. Below are some representative comments, which were provided anonymously.

 
  • “Great Presentation!” “Excellent course.” “Tom was great.”
  • “Tom was an engaging presenter. Tom’s take on bad writing was also useful.”
  • “[The best parts were the] emphasis techniques with samples. They were very clear and instructive.”
  • “I really enjoyed the last portion in which we discussed the writing samples. It put context to the different tools provided during the session.”
  • “[The best parts were] the examples after introducing each technique for writing. Presentation was concise and to the point.”
  • “Practical examples of how specific techniques work in briefs.”
  • “The breakdown of the [annotated briefs’] arguments was helpful in understanding how to apply the different writing techniques.”
  • “[The best parts were the] concrete examples with inserted notations in various sentences. I liked how the briefs are broken down as this helps illustrate your points and how we can easily implement them.”
  • “The powerpoint & examples were all clear & helpful.”
  • I really enjoyed the structure aspect of the presentation. It was helpful to go into detail. It was also helpful to see examples of the theories in practice.
  • Overall the entire presentation was useful. The creative suggestions related to paralleling & other strategies was most helpful.”
  • “Very clear. I liked it. Topical and easy to grasp.”
  • “The materials were concise and easy to read. I [will] refer to the examples provided [in the materials] in the future.”
  • “Great advice. Right at my level of experience.”

I help make attorneys better writers. My legal writing programs teach concrete strategies and techniques pertinent to all aspects of written analysis. All my programs include excellent teaching materials, writing samples, and handouts that attendees can rely on in their future work. And my teaching methods ensure that attendees will not only value and enjoy my programs, but will apply and retain what they’ve learned.

 

I also offer individual writing instruction to attorneys who wish to improve their written advocacy, including attorneys whose employers wish to give extra writing support. In addition to offering process-oriented frameworks to help attorneys at each stage of their writing process, I critique attorneys’ actual memoranda to provide self-editing tools that allow them to approach their future work more effectively.

 

Join the attorneys whose writing has been enhanced by my instruction. Contact me to get started!

I recently conducted a legal writing workshop on advanced persuasive writing techniques to attorneys in the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices of Arent Fox LLP. The workshop addressed two related topics:

 
  • Employing advanced persuasive writing and editing techniques; and
  • Organizing and writing persuasive, multi-issue memoranda, including writing persuasive rules, discussions of authority, and factually explicit arguments.
Advanced persuasive writing techniques

In this segment, we discussed using advanced writing and editing techniques in a variety of contexts. It’s easy in writing sessions to default to offering sentence-level techniques and providing short, highly edited excerpts illustrating these techniques. But that narrow focus doesn’t help attorneys apply these techniques in their briefs because they aren’t shown how those techniques can be applied in the context of a complete argument. My program demonstrated how to incorporate and combine these techniques in detailed, integrated writing samples.

Organizing and writing persuasive rules, discussions of authority, and factually explicit arguments

This segment amplified the techniques discussed in the previous segment in the context of providing paradigms and concrete tools to help attorneys effectively organize and write persuasive discussion sections. We examined such issues as the following:

 
  • Embracing organizational paradigms to help structure their overall analysis within and among the sub-sections of their discussion sections;
  • Articulating favorable overall rules;
  • Framing concise, factually detailed tests (aka sub-rules) that advance their client’s position;
  • Using parallel construction and substantive transitions to reinforce their tests and highlight favorable facts;
  • Highlighting parallel and weaker facts in the cases to ensure their discussions of authority—and parentheticals—provide as much support for their client’s arguments as possible;
  • Distinguishing contrary authority;
  • Organizing facts under factual propositions;
  • Organizing facts pursuant to the arguments they support; and
  • Weaving seamless arguments combining facts and law.

This segment ended with a rich discussion of my annotated sample sub-sections from two competing briefs. These writing samples illustrated how the same issue on summary judgment could be argued by each party and applied the writing techniques the attorneys were taught during the session.

 

Overall, it was a fun, informative session. I had an engaging conversation with some of the exceptional attorneys at Arent Fox. I appreciated their alacrity and receptivity; they asked insightful questions and made some fantastic comments on the writing samples. Teaching is so much fun in situations like these. I’m grateful I had the chance to work with Arent Fox and am looking forward to my next workshop with its attorneys!

Evaluations

I appreciate the very positive evaluations I received for my workshop. Below are some representative comments, which were provided anonymously.

 
  • “Great Presentation!” “Excellent course.” “Tom was great.”
  • “Tom was an engaging presenter. Tom’s take on bad writing was also useful.”
  • “[The best parts were the] emphasis techniques with samples. They were very clear and instructive.”
  • “I really enjoyed the last portion in which we discussed the writing samples. It put context to the different tools provided during the session.”
  • “[The best parts were] the examples after introducing each technique for writing. Presentation was concise and to the point.”
  • “Practical examples of how specific techniques work in briefs.”
  • “The breakdown of the [annotated briefs’] arguments was helpful in understanding how to apply the different writing techniques.”
  • “[The best parts were the] concrete examples with inserted notations in various sentences. I liked how the briefs are broken down as this helps illustrate your points and how we can easily implement them.”
  • “The powerpoint & examples were all clear & helpful.”
  • I really enjoyed the structure aspect of the presentation. It was helpful to go into detail. It was also helpful to see examples of the theories in practice.
  • Overall the entire presentation was useful. The creative suggestions related to paralleling & other strategies was most helpful.”
  • “Very clear. I liked it. Topical and easy to grasp.”
  • “The materials were concise and easy to read. I [will] refer to the examples provided [in the materials] in the future.”
  • “Great advice. Right at my level of experience.”

I help make attorneys better writers. My legal writing programs teach concrete strategies and techniques pertinent to all aspects of written analysis. All my programs include excellent teaching materials, writing samples, and handouts that attendees can rely on in their future work. And my teaching methods ensure that attendees will not only value and enjoy my programs, but will apply and retain what they’ve learned.

 

I also offer individual writing instruction to attorneys who wish to improve their written advocacy, including attorneys whose employers wish to give extra writing support. In addition to offering process-oriented frameworks to help attorneys at each stage of their writing process, I critique attorneys’ actual memoranda to provide self-editing tools that allow them to approach their future work more effectively.

 

Join the attorneys whose writing has been enhanced by my instruction. Contact me to get started!

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Comments

  1. I’m lucky that your workshop coincided with my first week at the firm. It was great to learn specific techniques on how to construct persuasive arguments that are both concise and engaging to readers. Hope there are more workshops in the future!

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