Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Vermont Bar Journal, Spring 2017, Volume 43, No. 1 - Page 22

On ings (known as point headings) should be a single persuasive sentence setting forth the legal argument and connecting it to the relevant facts for that particular argu- ment. 6 Effective headings advocate and create page breaks that focus the read- er’s attention on the key points of the ar- gument. 7 Readers typically remember the first and last sentences in a paragraph or section better than the middle sentences. The first and last sentences of a section or paragraph are called “positions of empha- sis.” 8 Headings allow the writer to have ad- ditional sentences that are in positions of emphasis and thereby target the audience with more effective advocacy. Bonus—Word Choice: In addition to structural approaches to targeting an audience, advocates can also look at substantive language to help tar- get the audience and thus maximize the impact of writing and advocacy. For exam- ple, when I’m drafting an appellate brief or preparing for oral argument, I review previ- ous decisions from the court before which I’m arguing, not only to determine what the law is, but also to determine what lan- guage or facts the court has emphasized in the past. In doing so, I can tailor my writ- ing to emphasize similar language or simi- lar facts. In doing so, I’m using the court’s decisions in the same way a marketing team uses the information it gains from a focus group to target a specific audience for a Super Bowl advertisement. If I do this effectively, my writing will be more persua- sive to my specific audience – the Court. Ultimately, as lawyers our job is often to 22 THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • SPRING 2017 persuade a judge, jury or another attorney that our position is legally sound. To do this effectively, we must consider not only the statutes, regulations and case law that con- trol the legal issue, but also how to best target the audience. In my experience, by considering what will appeal to our particu- lar audience and tailoring the structure and language of our writing to the needs and wishes of that audience, we can better ad- vocate our client’s position. ____________________ Jared Carter is an Assistant Professor of Law at Vermont Law School. Jared teaches legal activism, legal writing and appellate advocacy at VLS.  He also directs the Ver- mont Community Law Center, a non-profit legal services organization focused on so- cial justice, constitutional rights and con- sumer protection. ____________________ The Business Research Lab, http://www. busreslab.com/index.php/articles-and-stories/ research-tips/advertising/the-role-of-focus- groups-in-advertising/ (last visited March 14, 2017). 2 Targetsmart, http://targetsmart.com/offer- ing/polling/ (last visited March 14, 2017). 3 Richard C. Wydick, Plain English f ܈]Y\Š ]Y JKBY BBY BX[YKߘ[\ۋBX[[[\˔ \\]YX\ M  MKBܚ][\\YY[H[˜Z[B[XYK݋ZY[[\ԙXY\QY[ BK \\]YX\ M  MKBܘ[[X\[[˙ܘ[KBX\KK[[[\[[KB[K̋[[KY[\\\ \\]YX\M  MKBB˝\ܙ