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Persuasive Point and Sub-Point Headings. Outlining the Argument Section of the Appellate Brief . Main Point Headings. Point headings are persuasive summaries of the main arguments in your appellate brief.

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persuasive point and sub point headings

Persuasive Point and Sub-Point Headings

Outlining the Argument

Section of the Appellate Brief

.

main point headings
Main Point Headings
  • Point headings are persuasive summaries of the main arguments in your appellate brief.
  • Point headings are even more important in the appellate brief than they were in the memo.
  • Because in the Table of Contents, along with sub-point headings, they should use parallel word structure to provide your reader with an outline and summary of your entire argument.
  • (See sample brief and point-heading exercise)
denial of injunction argument the major point headings
Denial of Injunction ArgumentThe Major Point-Headings

Denial should be affirmed because:

I. (II.) Appellant unlikely prevail at trial.

II. (V.) No Property or Liberty Interest.

denial of injunction argument
Denial of Injunction Argument

II. (V.) No Property or Liberty Interest.

  • A.(I.) NoPropertyInterest inEducationorAthletics
      • 1 . (VII.) No property interest in Education
      • 2 . (IV.) No property interest in Athletics
denial of injunction argument5
Denial of Injunction Argument

II. (V.) No Property or Liberty Interest.

  • A.(I.) NoPropertyInterest inEducationorAthletics
      • 1 . (VII.) No property interest in Education
      • 2 . (IV.) No property interest in Athletics
  • B. (IX.) Threatens no liberty interest inreputation, future opportunities or state entitlements.
      • 1. (VIII.) Liberty interest in reputation not threatened
      • 2. (VI.) Liberty interest in future opportunities not threatened
      • 3. (III.) Liberty interest not threatened since no state interest
denial of injunction argument6
Denial of Injunction Argument

I.(II.) Appellant unlikely to prevail at trial.

II. (V.) No Property or Liberty Interest.

  • A.(I.) NoPropertyInterest inEducationorAthletics
      • 1 . (VII.) No property interest in Education
      • 2 . (IV.) No property interest in Athletics
  • B. (IX.) Threatens no liberty interest inreputation, future opportunities or state entitlements.
      • 1. (VIII.) Liberty interest in reputation not threatened
      • 2. (VI.) Liberty interest in future opportunities not threatened
      • 3. (III.) Liberty interest not threatened since no state interest
main point headings7
Main Point Headings
  • Point headings should be conclusory statements about the legal issues which are favorable to your client.
  • Each point heading should be a single sentence that can be immediately understood.
  • Point headings should also be forceful and argumentative.
organization of point headings
Organization of Point Headings
  • The main point headings need not relate to each other but should be organized in a logical order.
  • For example: Which point heading should come first in your problem? How would they differ depending upon who you represent?
point headings should include
Point Headings should include:
  • 1) The ruling you want. -Your conclusion of the issue
point headings should include10
Point Headings should include:
  • 1) The ruling you want,-Your conclusion of the issue
  • 2) the legally significant facts,-unless it is a pure question of law
point headings should include11
Point Headings should include:
  • 1) The ruling you want, -Your conclusion of the issue
  • 2) the legally significant facts, -unless it is a pure question of law
  • 3) and the relevant law

(or you can give the law and THEN the facts)

for example
For Example:
  • I. This Court should affirm the district court’s order dismissing Smith’s complaint (ruling you want) because her husband’s interception of telephone calls (legally significant facts) was within an implied exception from the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act (the relevant law.)
  • See the hand-out. Which point headings are the best?
slide13
C. This Court should reverse the district court’s dismissal of Nunn’s claim (ruling you want) because under New Hampshire law, the defendant, knowing the guest would soon be driving his automobile. (legally significant facts) violated his duty to his guest not to serve him alcoholic beverages (relevant law) when the guest was intoxicated. (legally significant facts)
slide14
And . . .
  • A. This Court should reverse the district court’s refusal to grant the Defendant an entrapment jury instruction (the ruling you want) because his plea was not inconsistent with a request for such a jury instruction(relevant law)even though he pleaded not guilty and denied the intent element of the crime. (legally significant facts)
draft a point heading for nevin s brief
Draft a Point Headingfor Nevin’s Brief
  • (Ruling you want)
  • (Legally significant facts)
  • (The relevant law)
draft a point heading for nevin s brief16
Draft a Point Headingfor Nevin’s Brief
  • (Ruling you want)
  • This Court should reverse the circuit court’s conviction for assault with a dangerous instrument
  • (Legally significant facts)
  • because, the small drinking glass that Nevin threw at the bartender’s back,
  • (The relevant law)
  • was not an instrument capable of causing death or other serious physical injury under P.L. § 10.00 (13).
a point heading for nevin s brief
A Point-heading for Nevin’s brief.
  • I. THIS COURT SHOULD REVERSE THE CIRCUIT COURT’S CONVICTION OF NEVIN FOR ASSAULT SHOULD BECAUSE THE SMALL DRINKING GLASS THAT HE THREW AT THE BARTENDER’S BACK WAS NOT AN INSTRUMENT CAPABLE OF CAUSING DEATH OR OTHER SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY UNDER P.L. § 10.00 (13).
  • (With all caps for the Point-heading)
sub point headings
Sub-Point Headings
  • Unlike point headings, sub-point headings should be indented and are often more factual.
  • Like, point headings, sub-point headings should be a single sentence which is forceful and argumentative.
  • Sub-point headings supply specific reasons for the contention of the main point headings.
drafting point and sub point headings
Drafting Point andSub Point Headings
  • Sub-point headings should relate to the main point headings in a logical and consistent way.
  • Sub-point and point headings will be easier to read if you keep the subject and verb as close together as possible (unlike 18-E,1-B and 3-A, Shapo, pp.337, 338).
  • Generally, you should have two or more point or sub-point headings.
draft a sub point heading for nevin s brief
Draft a sub-point headingfor Nevin’s brief.
  • I. THIS COURT SHOULD REVERSE THE CIRCUIT COURT’S CONVICTION NEVIN FOR ASSAULT BECAUSE THE SMALL DRINKING GLASS THAT NEVIN THREW AT THE BARTENDER’S BACK WAS NOT AN INSTRUMENT CAPABLE OF CAUSING DEATH OR OTHER SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY UNDER P.L. § 10.00 (13).
    • A. The drinking glass was not an instrumentcapable of causing death or other seriousphysical injury because Nevin put it to a non-standard use unlikely to cause injury.
  • (With the point-heading in caps and sub-point heading underlined)
point headings should
Point headings should. . .
  • Correspond to the issues and proceed in a logical order.
  • Combine the ruling you want with the relevant law and the legally significant facts.
  • Supply reasoning unless supported sub-point headings.
  • Articulate relevant legal principles without citing cases or statutes.
  • Use active voice and positive word construction as much as possible.

See Shapo pp. 333-335

sub headings should
Sub headings should . . .
  • Relate to the main point headings in a logical and consistent way.
  • Supply specific reasons for the contention of the main point headings.
  • Also be forceful and argumentative.
  • Also use active voice and positive word construction as much as possible.
  • Finally, whenever possible you should use parallel word construction in both point and sub-point headings.
steps in outlining your argument section
Steps In OutliningYour Argument Section

See the Sample Outline

  • 1) Draft your first point heading. What will you address first?
  • 2) Describe any road map sections.
  • 3) Identify your case discussions/ describe your rules section.
  • 4) Briefly explain your arguments.
  • 5) Identify your responses to counter-arguments.
  • REPEAT PROCESS FOR SECOND ISSUE
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