LEGAL WRITING: PERSUADING PEOPLE ON THE PAGE AND ON THE SCREEN
National Speaker Series
Client communications, in-firm emails and research memos, legal briefs and marketing are our life’s work. An insightful examination of the data underscoring the impacts of good (and bad) writing provides the basis for this valuable day.AGENDA
9:00 A.M. Writing Mistakes that Undermine Your Credibility
We all know the difference between “you’re” and “your,” but what about the mistakes that we don’t even realize we make? From the differences between “fewer” and “less” as well as “that” and “which,” the lesser known (and frequently blown) rules of grammar substantially impact your credibility.
10:30 A.M. Coffee Break
10:45 A.M. Effective Email
A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveals that people misinterpret the meaning and tone of emails as much as 50 percent of the time. An inappropriate salutation or ineffective organization will undermine your effort to communicate clearly. Sybil Dunlop shares strategies to ensure that your emails convey the message that you want.
Eliminating Writer’s Block
We procrastinate, and some social scientists suggest that lawyers might procrastinate because they must write so much. These tips will help you get going and, perhaps, even achieve flow (becoming fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus) with your writing.
12:15 P.M. Lunch (on your own)
1:15 P.M. Brief Writing
Don’t you wish you had an hour with the Judge to convince him or her as to the strength of your position? You do. It’s called your brief. Sybil Dunlop honed her craft analyzing briefs submitted to federal court. She knows what gets ignored and, more importantly, what works!
• The Opening Paragraph
• Tips for drafting a well-written fact section
• Strategies for crafting a legal argument
• Legal citation
• Make it work
2:45 P.M. Refreshment Break
3:00 P.M. Credibility and your ethical obligations
A lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal. But we recognize that our opposing counsel is out there mischaracterizing facts, failing to provide accurate legal citations, and ignoring the law. Here’s how to walk the line and call your opponent out for transgressions. Help is out there; here’s where to find it.
Writing Resources for Lawyers
Help is out there; here’s where to find it.
4:30 P.M. AdjournFACULTY
Sybil Dunlop is a partner with Greene Espel PLLP in Minneapolis, where she handles complex litigation for local and international clients. As a counselor, she advises Fortune 100 clients through business disputes with contractors, clients, and business partners. As a litigator, Sybil is a passionate advocate with first-chair trial and arbitration experience. She has also represented clients before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, including the first patent owner to score a complete victory in a CBM proceeding. No matter the situation, Sybil invests in learning each
client’s business and works to craft a strategy aimed at achieving identified
Prior to joining Greene Espel in 2010, Sybil clerked for the Honorable James M. Rosenbaum of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Sybil graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2008, Order of the Coif, where she served as Senior Notes Editor for the Vanderbilt Law Review. Before attending law school, Sybil lived and worked in both Geneva, Switzerland and in Washington, DC, where she was Political Research Deputy for EMILY’s List.
As an active legal scholar and enthusiastic teacher, Sybil writes a monthly column for the Minnesota Lawyer, hosts a recurring webcast series, teaches nationally on federal practice, privilege, legal writing, and implicit bias. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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