Show the Brief: Visual Writing Strategies and Techniques

William S. Bailey

8 Reviews
Format: Paperback
Condition: New
Sale price$195.00

In Show the Brief: Visual Writing Strategies and Techniques, trial lawyer and law professor William S. Bailey teaches you how to create legal briefs that powerfully demonstrate the facts of your case in a more effective, and more persuasive, manner.

 Over the last twenty-five years, the roles of both trial lawyers and judges have changed. Federal and state procedural rules encourage settlements more and more, often requiring pretrial discovery and al­ternative dispute resolution. Fewer cases go to trial today than they once did. As judges become increasingly willing to make sweeping pretrial rulings, either granting summary judgment on critical issues—or even out right dismissing a case—the stakes in pretrial motion practice have greatly increased. This has become particularly true in federal court, where outcomes are often far less favorable to plaintiffs overall.

 In the intense, busy world of deciding civil cases on crowded dockets, briefs have become more important than ever: Most of the time, judges know how they are going to rule in a case after reading the briefs. They politely let you make your arguments, only to then announce the ruling knew they were going to make at the outset.

 Briefs are your best shot to tell the judge why you should win, and why your opponent should lose. The court’s ruling will be driven by your case story and how it plays within the judge’s life experience, values, and understanding of the law.

 Plaintiffs’ lawyers no longer have the luxury of reflexively sticking to tradition. You must take your best shot the first time, every time, in all pleadings and documents that you file with the court. The emphasis that once rested on trial now has shifted to pretrial, with depositions and motions often determining the way your case turns out. The time has come for you to use every tool you have in every aspect of your practice—not just during trial and trial preparation, but in each of the pleadings and briefs you file with the court. This means adopting the latest communications lessons from other professions and learning from the latest research in applied psychology to best present your case in every brief you file.

 In this book, Bailey covers the following and more:

  • Judicial decision making
  • Persuasion lessons from applied psychology
  • Layout basics
  • The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Foundation and admissibility challenges
  • What lawyers can learn from broadcast journalism
  • Complaints in the Iqbal era
  • Using iconic representation
  • Image choices: photos versus graphics
  • Image perception, labeling, and digital manipulation
  • Information graphics
  • Visualizing testimony from your fact witnesses and clients
  • Visualizing dramatic moments in your case story
  • Visualizing the Rules of the Road
  • Effectively using evidence
  • Summarizing voluminous information
  • Simplifying scientific and technical information
  • Turning data into persuasive images
  • Using visuals to focus depositions
  • Using visual motions to strike affirmative defenses

Bailey’s step-by-step approach provides valuable background information from psychology, neuroscience communication, and the graphic arts. The lessons in Show the Brief will teach you how to become a more effective advocate and teacher—all through learning how to use visuals in your briefs and pleadings to make them more effective. In today’s plaintiff’s practice, telling a good story in the briefs you write is just as critical as doing it in person before a jury.

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Paperback: 450 pages; 1st Edition (2022); ISBN: 978-1-951962-51-7
Publisher: Trial Guides, LLC

Publisher’s Note


Foreword by Rick Friedman


  1. Rashomon and the Search for Truth
  2. Using Brain Rules
  3. Layout Basics
  4. Foundation, Foundation, Foundation
  5. Broadcast Journalism and Lawyers
  6. Complaints in the Iqbal Era
  7. Using Iconic Representation
  8. Image Choices: Photos versus Graphics
  9. Image Perception, Labeling, and Digital Manipulation
  10. Information Graphics
  11. Visualizing Testimony of Fact Witnesses and Clients
  12. Visualizing Dramatic Moments in the Case Story
  13. Visualizing the Rules of the Road
  14. Effective Use of Evidence
  15. Summarizing Voluminous Information
  16. Simplifying Scientific and Technical Information
  17. Turning Data into Persuasive Images
  18. Using Visuals to Focus Depositions
  19. Visual Motions to Strike Affirmative Defenses
  20. The Future


  1. Complaint in Highway Design Case
  2. Brief to Amend a Complaint in Response to Affirmative Defenses
  3. Brief to Strike Affirmative Defenses
  4. Images in Discovery Requests
  5. Summary Judgment Liability Brief
  6. Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment Brief
  7. Graphic Narrative Brief
  8. Comic Book Complaint

About the Author

What Legal Leaders Are Saying

Bill Bailey has done more than any other lawyer I know to help you win your motions. Judges are humans too, and they are influenced and persuaded by visuals like everybody else. Words are, well, just words. Why not give judges more? They want to see and understand just like jurors. Bill Bailey helps you learn to ease the burden on your judge, who no doubt is under a time gun and has little time to read every word of every motion. The tips in this book will increase your victories on motion hearing day. Highly recommend this book!

— Randy Kinnard, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and 2020 recipient of the Pursuit of Justice Awards by the American Bar Association
4.3 out of 5 stars Based on 8 reviews
Robert B.
Verified Buyer
Outstanding addition to Professor Bailey's earlier book "Show the Story"
Professor Bailey's years of experience as both a trial lawyer and a law school professor have given him a unique insight into the importance of educating judges and juries on issues in litigation. The use of visual tools he recommends is a must read for
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Jim L.
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Awesome book
I’ve been writing briefs for 48 years, and studying how to try to write them better for nearly that long. This book taught me a great deal. I recommend it without hesitation. We all know that seeing is believing. Bailey shows us how to allow the judge
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Sean A.
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Show Your Work because it improves comprehension...and it looks cool.
Awesome stuff here, basically, phones and social media have rendered the human brain incapable of focusing on words alone for more than 8 seconds. What was I was talking about? The use of images to reinforce what you're talking about improves communication
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Peter L.
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Eric R.
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In our jurisdiction, we have
In our jurisdiction, we have a "presiding system" in which we get assigned to a court the morning of a hearing. The judges are not familiar with the case and we have to get them up to speed immediately. This book has already given me some great ideas
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