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The Advocates

Wondering how Ross selected the 50 advocates featured in Point Made? It took a team of researchers months to find the briefs and motions Ross reviewed for the book. To choose the best advocates and to distill their writing down to 50 concrete techniques that anyone could learn, Ross sifted through hundreds of motions and briefs to find the most interesting and helpful examples.

Narrowing a million lawyers down to a few dozen of the most influential ones was fun but challenging. Ross tried to incorporate objective evidence, like formal lawyer-rating services that reflect anonymous surveys. No two people would list the same top 50 advocates, but he's confident these 50 are all superstars worthy of study and admiration. See the complete list of advocates here.

The following quotes inspired some of the Point Made techniques.

Sell the sizzle

Unfortunately, the judge does not possess the luxury of time for leisurely, detached meditation. You'd better sell the sizzle as soon as possible; the steak can wait.

-- Ruggero Aldisert, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Why should I care?

[Y]ou should explain not only what the case is about and what the background law is about, but also why the case is important (or unimportant) - what if anything turns on the outcome, either for the parties or for some larger community

-- Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Do the right thing

Be sure and tell why it is important [for the Court] to come out your way, in part by explaining the consequences if we don't. The logic and common sense of your position should be stressed.

-- Patricia Wald, former Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

Justice for all

Judges are conversant with the law in general, and in their search for rules that will do justice and equity they look to you for guidance. They need you, the advocates, with your great understanding of the parties and their dispute, to show them why the result you seek is the soundest of available alternatives, and the one that will bring about a just result for the parties, the public, and the development of the law.

-- William Eich, former Chief Judge, Wisconsin Court of Appeals

Big picture

Too often lawyers jump right into the legal nuances of the case without explaining, in clear terms, the legal context in which the case arises.

-- Shirley Abrahamson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin


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