Recently the ABA Journal published a post by Jim McElhaney entitled Dirty Dozen: 12 Ways to Write a Really Bad Brief. The list contained this notable tip:
Tell no story. Every brief should tell the story of an injustice, a wrong that needs to be righted or avoided.
The story is central to the way we process facts. It is the basic system we use to teach, to understand, to instill moral precepts and to memorialize important events. Telling an engaging story in the statement of facts and the issues they raise gives meaning to an otherwise dry assemblage of information. How you do it depends on who you are writing the brief for.
Trial judges are folks in the trenches whose goal is to do elemental justice. Appellate judges want to right wrongs, too—within their job of weaving and repairing the fabric of the law.
Always keep in mind who is going to read your story.
This is particularly true in the context of a Social Security claim. With judges hearing so many claims, a compelling client story is more important than ever.
Every client has a story. Sometimes the story is obvious. Sometimes it takes some digging and some thought. But there is always a story worth telling.
Until I have a compelling story to tell, my hearing preparation is not complete.