BY GARY KINDER
PE RSUASI V ELY
e lawyers have a single job: to use words to get
people to do things we want them to do; people
like judges and opposing counsel; things like grant
our motion and give ground. But who teaches us
how to do this? A mentor, perhaps, if he or she has
time? We don’t get it in law school.
I learned it about three years a;er I graduated. I had decided
not to practice law but to devote my career to writing. Any writer
determined to earn a living has to ;gure out how to get people
to pay for the privilege of reading what he has written. A;er I
learned the secret, I had to live with it for a while before I internalized it, but while pursuing food for the table, I ;gured out
how to write persuasively. ;en I got published and later taught
the secret to other lawyers.
CAPTURE YOUR READER’S IMAGINATION
A few years ago I met with a San Francisco lawyer (let’s call him
Demetri) who had written a brief for a client (let’s call the client
Avennia) that wholesaled specialty glass bottles for wineries in
California. ;e president of the company (we’ll call her Marsha)
had defected to a start-up competitor. Avennia had sued Marsha
for violating her noncompete clause and for using trade secrets
and con;dential business information she had learned at Avennia
to build the new competitor’s business.