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Recipe for Making Effective Legal Briefs

Legal Research,

Communication is one of the most important tools of a lawyer. Effective communication definitely gives a formidable advantage to a lawyer in a court. There are two different means of communication, i.e. verbal and non-verbal. Drafting good legal briefs is an effective way to communicate with clients about their grievances. Courts often admit matters on the basis of the quality of legal brief submitted before them. 

Thus, a good legal brief is important to get the remedy prayed for. Frankly, there is a misconception that including too many legal jargons and complex words will help with one’s case. This is not true.   

Here is a list of effective ways of writing good legal briefs: 

  1. Understand Facts and Remedy 
    First and foremost, understand the facts by asking questions to your client and clearing all your doubts. You must examine all the documents provided to you by the client. Make notes and cross-check with the client, if required. You might then research on the issues involved and list down the arguments for a favourable remedy. Remember, correlating arguments and remedy is an important task.  

    Let’s understand this with an example. Generally, Income Tax Tribunals remand a matter if they believe that subordinate authorities have not examined a particular form of evidence. So, if one argues on principles of natural justice and seeks dismissal, then the chances of getting a remand are higher than that of getting a dismissal. Hence, correlating is pertinent.   
  2. Focus on Language
    While drafting, what you write must be clear and succinct. The language should be comprehensible. Comprehensibility comes when the sentences are short and simple. Recently, a High Court Judge threw away a file during the admission stage, as the brief’s language, instead of being simple and straightforward, had too many complex words making the draft unnecessarily obfuscated. 

    Always remember that complex words and sentences will be disadvantageous to your case as the courts are already loaded with work. So, make your brief simple.
  3. Strategize Your Submission
    What you want to convey and how you want to convey matters. Ultimately, you want the judge to focus on certain arguments. Remember that you are telling a story before court. Your writing must be powerful enough to convince the judge. So, in a few cases, adding backgrounds, writing arguments in particular sequence or explaining a particular case law (which is closely related to your case) will help . 
    I remember making a submission on share valuation at premium, to make my arguments look stronger. I added two or three paragraphs just to explain the concept of valuation before delving upon the main argument. This helped me in justifying share valuation. 
    So, always remember to structure your submission effectively. 

  4. Proofread the Document
    Proofreading is a crucial step in writing legal briefs as it saves you from obvious errors. It must be done for grammatical errors, sentences structures, or words adopted for conveying the message. While proofreading, you must ensure that your brief has proper structure and nothing is out of place. Your arguments must deliver the message that you and your client want to convey.
    Also, you can get your legal briefs reviewed by your seniors. This will help in getting good insights. 

  5. Maintain Review File
    Finally, your growth depends on how well you understand and try to mitigate your errors. After continuous proofreading over a period of time, you will understand common errors that you make in your legal briefs. Keep a track of errors that you make frequently and improvise on them.  
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