Your Made Your Case : Art of Persuading Judges : BRIEFING

Summary of Argument

The rules of some courts require a Summary of Argument and don’t count it against the brief’s page or word limit. Other courts don’t require it and subtract it from your permitted length. You should include it anyway. Write it after completing the Argument, though it precedes that section in your brief.

Some judges never read the Summary of Argument, which will precede the Argument section of your brief. Why read a cut-down version when you’re about to read the real thing? Other judges, however, consider the Summary of Argument indispensable – indeed, the most important part of the brief. As long as judges of the latter sort exist, and the judge you’re appearing before has not publically committed, you must include the Summary. Omit it only if it is not required, if it is counted against your brief limit, and if it takes up space that you absolutely require for full exposition of your points.
Unlike the Introduction, the Summary of Argument is not just a preview of the topics of argument that are to follow. It is a short version of the substance of the arguments under each topic. How short is short? In a 50-page brief, we recommend no more than five pages, and ideally no more than three. State the main lines of thought without embellishment, omit quotations, and cite only key cases (if any at all).

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