Drafting Motions

Learn to craft compelling motions that engage, persuade, and build credibility. From captivating introductions to concise conclusions, master the art of legal persuasion in every argument.
  • Joe Regalia
There’s a wide world of motions out there. After all, any time you request relief from a trial court, you “move” for relief using a motion. Common motions span the everyday, like a motion to move a hearing date, to the case-ending, like a motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgment.
Regardless of the type, every motion is an opportunity to persuade and build your credibility. Let’s explore a few tips for crafting the best motion.

Motion Components

A standard motion includes:
  • Caption, 
  • Introduction,
  • Statement of Facts,
  • Legal Argument, and
  • Conclusion.

Preparing a Motion

When drafting the caption, ensure accuracy and completeness. Include the case name, judge’s name, and other pertinent details. Avoid errors here, as they can undermine the credibility of everything that follows. This is also a place where technology can easily automate the process.
Your introduction should immediately engage the reader. It’s your first chance to frame the narrative. Clearly and succinctly present the crux of your argument, priming the reader for the details that follow.
In your statement of facts, embrace storytelling. Present the facts not as a dry recitation but as a compelling narrative. Use active language and concrete details to bring the story to life, making it memorable and persuasive.
Structure your argument logically, leading the reader through your reasoning step by step. Use clear, fluent language to present your legal analysis, ensuring that your argument is both comprehensible and compelling. Distill your message at every opportunity. Start each section with a clear summary of its key takeaways, and then provide the supporting details.
Conclude with impact. Summarize your key arguments and articulate why your position should prevail. This is your final chance to reinforce your narrative and request in the mind of the reader.

Some Final Memo Tips

  • Strive for fluency. Your writing should require minimal effort for the busy trial judge to understand. Avoid complex sentence structures and legal jargon. Instead, use clear, concise language. Remember, every sentence is an opportunity to convey a point persuasively.
  • Be vigilant in cutting clutter. Unnecessary information can obscure your key points. Edit ruthlessly to ensure that each word and sentence contributes directly to your argument. This approach not only clarifies your message but also respects the reader’s time.
  • Use narrative techniques in your Statement of Facts and throughout the motion to make legal points memorable. Create settings and characters that resonate with the reader, and use specific details to animate your story. This makes your motion more than a legal document; it becomes a story that captures and retains the reader’s attention.
  • In your argument, simplify and clarify legal rules. Break them down into easily digestible pieces. By crafting the rules in simple, straightforward language, you help the reader grasp complex legal concepts and see the logic of your argument.
Joe Regalia
Write.law co-founder Joe Regalia combines his experience as both practitioner and professor to create exciting new ways to teach legal skills.  Learn more about Joe

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