, ,

Effective Legal Writing: One Judge’s Perspective, by Retired Judge Wayne Alley, originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Feb. 14, 2015– Vol. 86, No. 5.


This is one of the best articles I have read on how to write to win your case. Judge Alley tells you exactly what a judge wants to read in your brief. So put yourself in the judge’s shoes, and imagine that you’re reading yet another brief at the end of a long day at the end of an extremely long week.

Here you will find what a judge needs to give you what you want. -CCE

What does a judge want in writings (motions, briefs, applications, reports, proposed orders) filed in his or her cases? There is an easy answer; the judge wants an easy out. The judge wants a clear, simple, substantiated solution to the problem at hand — a solution with which he is comfortable. To this end, consider the following suggestions.

Tell the judge why. Except for uncontested applications, such as for extensions of time, both sides typically submit persuasive statutes, cases and secondary authorities in support of their respective positions. Not many positions are “slam dunks.” The judge needs to be educated not merely that the respective authorities are out there, but why one set of authorities leads to a better result than the other. The judge shouldn’t have to figure it out for him or herself. . . .