The Art of Winning Arguments: A Ten Commandments’ Tale

my old boss, one of the finest appellate attorneys in our field of practice, handed over to me the task of writing an appellate petition. the court of appeal, in the area of law, had the discretion to accept or deny the petition for writ summarily. i was new to the field and quite inexperienced.

with no appellate background or training on how to write a petition, somehow, i crafted the document the petition was granted. my boss, like in most practices, took over the case and argued the matter at the court of appeal. the published decision on the case is coming upo its 30th anniversary.

“wow!” i thought. with barely any legal experience, i made a great accomplishment. i thought i could do this all the time. the sad reality was, three decades later, and many petition summarily denied, that there would only be two other petitions granted. being a great appellate attorney was far more difficult than what i first imagined.

over those decades, however, i grew in success on non-court of appeal appeals. i have garnered a significant number of victories with the opinions published online. some of these cases have been industry seminar topics. this writing success is attributed to the fact that i learned “the language. ”

by language, i mean the words, the phrases and the concepts which awaken the powers the determine justice within the area of law. fundamental ideas and fundamental case law are the backbones of any attempt to argue successfully in law.

with this in mind, “the language” is also developed by the facts, the expert opinions and the legal opinions on the matter. thus, as i presented trial evidence, i did so in a way that i would be able to argue the matter if an appeal was necessary. for arguments to be successful, the foundation must be solid.

my success is in part on winning legal issues was that i take multiple foundational concepts and merged them together as one. thus, if legal position “a” and “b” are both good, then “a” plus “b” must also be good.

with this in mind, i attempted to watch various lectures on controversial topics. these lectures often fall apart before they begin. people arguing their points often fail to establish the foundational matters before them move on to their argument. even worse, their foundational facts or positions, to begin with are wrong or are inaccurate at this point, the individual making the argument lost me. i cannot be convinced by them as they have an improper foundation or are basing their position on inaccuracies.

in sum, arguments, in law or on other topics, require an individual to do the hard work. learning and understanding foundational aspects are important to argumentation. likewise, touching on the basics at the beginning, is also so important. discussing the undisputed before discussing the dispute is necessary for success.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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