Joshua Rosenkranz discusses the secret to writing winning legal arguments

New York appellate attorney Joshua Rosenkranz of Orrick shares the secret to writing legal arguments that win.

Contact Joshua Rosenkranz

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (212) 506-5380

Transcript:

Well, it’s very generous of Law360. A few sort of principles that I abide by. The first and foremost is no brief has ever persuaded an audience that doesn’t read it, and so I try to make my briefs as readable and user friendly as possible. I always imagine the judge sitting at the edge of his or her chair with a big stack of work, waiting for the opportunity to put this brief down and pick up something else instead. So narratives are really important, telling a story that makes the judge want to read. Making everything seem like common sense, so I never just rest on “this case said this.” I talk about cases in ways that resonate with the judge. I talk about our case in ways that resonate with the judge, that make the judge say not only is this what the precedent requires, but this is actually a really sensible result.

And, finally, a lot of advocacy, I have found, particularly where the law is unclear, boils down to something that I call the “battle of the metaphors.” Whoever can come up with the metaphor that captures the judge’s attention and makes the judge say, “Yes, this case looks just – this foreign idea looks just like this thing that I’m familiar with, and this thing that I’m familiar with, obviously I know the legal resolution of it,” that’s the party that often wins the case. And so I spend a lot of time thinking about the appropriate metaphor.