Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges

Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges

This seminar is based on Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, the 2008 book by Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner. Drawing on copious literature—the recorded thoughts of great lawyers throughout history—the book systematically answers the age-old question: How do effective advocates persuade courts to decide cases in favor of their clients?

The seminar examines 115 enduring principles divided into four broad categories. Participants learn:

  • How valuable the general principles of argumentation are, especially how critical it is to concentrate your fire and control the semantic playing field.
  • How to use the age-old principles of syllogistic reasoning to build a compelling argument.
  • How to organize your brief-writing project, know the best approaches for each part of the brief, and employ effective writing skills to create a product that will interest—not repel—judges.
  • How to prepare for and succeed at the lectern by knowing your case forward and backward and by appreciating the opportunity that questioning gives you to engage judges in conversation.

The seminar includes a hardbound copy of Making Your Case, which will be a valuable reference long after the seminar is over.

YouTube Video – Awarding Justice Scalia the Lifetime Achievement Award

LawProse Policy on In-House CLE Credit

Under state-bar rules, the hosting group is the proper applicant for CLE accreditation. We will supply you with the necessary attachments CLE applications require.

Read for yourself what people are saying about Professor Garner’s Making Your Case seminar in their evaluations:

What was really helpful?

  • The presentation emphasizes the importance of the deep issue. I tend to not be disciplined in this.
  • This was the best CLE I have attended. Really, you have made me rethink my entire approach to briefing and advocacy.
  • One of the best seminars I have attended. Bryan is at the top of his field, like the Roger Federer of writing. I am motivated and inspired to be a better writer.
  • Good practice tips, not only making the oral case but overall for convincing and influencing.
  • Excellent delivery, obvious intellectual, tons of practical pointers, adorable pictures to match bullet points.
  • The tips were practical and useful (both in trial and appellate court).
  • The Sousa March as a metaphor for a legal brief is brilliant. It makes sense!
  • This part of the day was extremely practical and helpful because Bryan’s anecdotes made the points accessible and memorable.
  • I am not a litigator, but I clerk for judges. This seminar gave me another perspective.
  • The emphasis on the use of candor and professional demeanor during argument.
  • Issue framing is always a very helpful part of the lecture. Also, I use the explicit connectives page of the materials on a routine basis in writing.
  • Interesting, insightful, and entertaining—a rare combination.
  • Understanding what is important to judges.
  • Tips were practical versus purely theoretical.
  • Simplicity of the examples. Great use of course materials and very well organized.

What would you tell your colleagues about this course?

  • They need to attend. There is much to learn. The materials and the books will raise the level of your writing and advocacy skills.
  • Attend!
  • Best single seminar on appellate advocacy.
  • Only seminar I have really wished were longer. Very informative and entertaining—a great combination.
  • This is my third time to this lecture. I always tell colleagues it’s a must-do step of career development. This is a requirement for associates at my firm.
  • Very engaging and insightful.
  • Very beneficial if you want to improve and work to win cases.
  • Yes, especially as a recent law-school graduate, I think Mr. Garner’s points are important to learn.
  • If you want to persuade (in sales, law, leadership), you should take this course.
  • If you care about being an effective communicator, regardless of your vocation, you need this course.
  • To take any Garner course.
  • Kept my attention from beginning to end.