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Ask For What You Want, posted by Elliott Wilcox, Trial Theater Blog


Mr. Wilcox’s suggestions on how to verbally ask for what you want can also be translated into a persuasive legal writing technique. The logic works either way. -CCE

How many times a day do you ask judges, clients, or co-workers to do something or to give you something? During any given week, you probably make hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of requests. You ask your co-worker to work on a project, you ask your assistant to handle a client issue, you ask your kids to help with the dishes. . . . The number of requests that you make each week is staggering. But how many of those requests are actually granted? Have you ever had a problem with someone not doing not what you asked?

Why?  You’re a lawyer. Shouldn’t you be the master of persuasion who can get what you want, when you want it, and how you want it, every single time?

Unless your name is ‘Svengali the Master Manipulator,’ chances are that many of your requests are not being granted, or at least not being carried out exactly the way you’d like to see them handled.  But it’s not because your requests are falling on deaf ears.  In fact, your listeners are probably hearing exactly what you’re saying.  The problem is that you’re asking for the wrong thing. . . .