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Advanced Legal Writing: Advanced Legal Writing: Persuasion


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The databases listed below provides access to journal articles and other resources that have examples of persuasive writing or provide instruction for writing persuasively, across academic disciplines. The databases are available on-campus or remotely with an ASURITE password.

Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost) 
A multidisciplinary article database which covers thousands of mostly English-language popular magazines and scholarly journals. Includes topics in the social sciences, humanities, general science, education and most areas of academic study. 

HeinOnline provides PDF full text of law reviews and journals with pre-1980 scholarship that is not available on Lexis or Westlaw.

Humanities Full Text (H.W. Wilson) 
Indexes articles in the fields of film, folklore, gender studies, history, journalism, communications, language, literature, literary and political criticism, philosophy, and religion. Coverage is from 1984 to the present.

This database provides image and full-text online access to back issues of selected scholarly journals in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences.

Literature Online 
Contains the full-text of selective creative works in all genres of literature, a database of critical articles, author biographies and reference works.

Covers the research literature in all areas of psychology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. Other subjects such as neuroscience, psychiatry, and physiology are also included. The database provides indexing and abstracts for journal articles (mostly peer-reviewed), books, chapters, and dissertations. Coverage is from 1887 to the present.


Below is a short list of books and scholarly journal articles related to persuasive writing, with a focus on legal persuasion. You can search for other relevant resources in the ASU Library catalog using subject headings such as Persuasion (rhetoric) and Law-language.  Books located at other ASU Library locations can be requested and delivered to you at the Law Library; sign in to your library account to make a request.


Legal Persuasion: A Rhetorical Approach to the Science (Linda L. Berger and Kathryn M. Stanchi, 2018)
This title integrates research from cognitive science with classical and contemporary rhetorical theory, synthesizing these two disciplines and applying them to legal persuasion. The persuasive synthesis is illustrated through concrete examples and the authors provide excellent explanations of why, how, and when to utilize certain persuasive methods and techniques.

The Mindful Legal Writer: Mastering Persuasive Writing (Heidi Brown, 2016)
The Mindful Legal Writer focuses on why and how persuasive writing is used in law practice. Chapters address how to employ persuasive writing techniques in court filings, oral argument, and transactional practice and appendices provide examples of the types of legal document discussed in the book.

Advanced Legal Writing: Theories and Strategies in Persuasive Writing (Michael R. Smith, 2013)
This book focuses on classical writing strategies and rhetorical application, giving the reader writing tools that can be applied in a wide range of legal (and non-legal) settings. 


Kathryn Stanchi, Persuasion: An Annotated Bibliography, Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (2009).
This 2009 bibliography provides an excellent list of books and articles that discuss persuasion in legal writing. Resources listed address such topics as classical rhetoric, metaphors in legal writing, argumentation theory, "framing" of legal arguments, and semiotics.



Briefing and Arguing Federal Appeals (Frederick Bernays Wiener, 1961)
In its sections on oral argument, this resource suggests limiting intense questioning of precedent cases in oral argument, preparing extensively to avoid making inadvertent, permanent, damaging concessions, and refraining from discussing personalities and engaging in sarcasm. It also features an informative critique of a U.S. Supreme Court oral argument, highlighting pitfalls to be avoided.

The Little Book on Oral Argument (Alan L. Dworsky, 2018)
This slim, user-friendly book helps you channel your nervous energy to speak conversationally but professionally, minimizing all distracting verbal filler (such as "like" or "um"). It provides tips on looking and sounding confident and professional. It also tells you what to expect in each step of the process, from the initial nervous tension of “May it please the court” to your strong conclusion. And it helps keep you on guard when the judges pepper you with questions.

Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner, 2008)
The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and legal writing expert Bryan Garner provide tips on effective advocacy, such as how to differentiate your strongest points from the weak arguments that you should very visibly concede. Although good appellate practice involves appearing before the court without a script, strong oral advocacy involves intensive writing and revising. They also provide tips on appearing poised and strong to the tribunal and detailed advice on optimizing the substance of your argument, such as dealing with a barrage of questions with poise and avoiding unnecessary concessions.


Supreme Court of the United States arguments
Features audio of typically question-intensive Supreme Court oral arguments, including all of the appearances by ASU Law Professor Paul Bender. All of his arguments are compiled on Oyez.

9th Circuit Court of Appeals arguments
Features arguments on a wide range of topics in the federal appeals court whose territory includes Arizona.

Arizona Court of Appeals arguments
Discusses the guidelines for attorneys to structure their oral arguments along with providing links to video of current and archived oral arguments.

SCOTUStalk (podcast)
Many episodes feature advocates reflecting on their arguments before the United States Supreme Court, discussing how they developed and delivered their presentations.