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Unpublished Paper
The Plot Thickens: The Appellate Brief as Story
ExpressO (2007)
  • Kenneth D. Chestek

Why are appellate briefs boring? Does overreliance on structural paradigms like IRAC lead to formulaic, and overly legalistic, writing? The author suggests that, by conceiving of briefs as stories and consciously using the elements of narrative (character, conflict, setting, theme, and plot, among others), the brief writer can make the client's story come to life for the reader, hopefully producing a more interesting, and therefore compelling, brief. The author has written a brief in a mock case (Rubin v. Old York County Department of Social Services), and then deconstructs the brief in the article to show how the author of an appellate brief can consciously use the elements of narrative theory to write a compelling brief in a difficult legal setting.

  • Appellate briefs,
  • storytelling,
  • narrative theory,
  • legal writing
Publication Date
August, 2007
Citation Information
Kenneth D. Chestek. "The Plot Thickens: The Appellate Brief as Story" ExpressO (2007)
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