Build Your House, Part 2 – Blueprint

May 2, 2024

”There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple. If the ill spirit have so fair a house, Good things will strive to dwell with’t.”

– William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2


“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

– Yogi Berra


          Below is a simple outline for planning a lengthy writing process, allowing you to work on several briefs simultaneously while managing the rest of your practice. It is necessary to jump into (and out of) each brief at a sensible point. Just like a contractor has to build more than one structure at a time, it is rarely possible to work on just one brief at a time. If you know where you are in the process, it is easier to start again after setting your brief aside for a few days.

Blueprint the Writing Process. Estimate how long it will take to do the following tasks:

    1. Review the appellate record
    2. Identify legal issues
    3. Conduct legal research
    4. Refine legal issues based upon research
    5. Create an annotated outline of the brief
    6. Write the brief – break down the writing into each section of the brief, such as statement of the case, facts, and arguments by issue.
    7. Edit the brief
    8. Proofread the brief
    9. Review everything with a final checklist

          An appellate lawyer has to think of him or herself as a professional writer, who is working on several projects at a time.  Having discipline to work steadily based upon a process helps to avoid feeling overwhelmed.