What Did You Just Say?

Persuasion is possible only if we’re understood, which in turn is possible only if readers remember what we’ve said. There lies the challenge of legal writing: Most of what we write is quickly forgotten, so we want to foster memory of our critical points.

How are we to do that?

Dr. Samuel Johnson supplied a clue: “The true art of memory is the art of attention.” To figure out how to command attention, consider the great literary and rhetorical figures from our past, as they repeated clauses (called “anaphora”) or sounds (called “alliteration”).

In his memorable opening to A Tale

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