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I love writing appellate briefs because they provide lawyers an opportunity to explain and win their case. Good appellate writing uses the same framework as the best historical nonfiction: It provides a compelling narrative that identifies the most important information accurately, while telling a full and consistent story.

Tell a Compelling Story

Make your brief interesting by telling your client’s story. As with all types of writing, you can improve your skills by reading great writers. If you want to know the best way to tell a nonfictional story, I recommend reading Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book about the Lincoln presidency and Cabinet, which tells a complex story convincingly — how President Abraham Lincoln worked with and won over the men who ran against him for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination.

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