Years ago I was perusing the various legal writing and appellate practice blogs that populate the Internet, and I encountered The Appellate Record by Kendall Gray, Jr. The posts were interesting, but sporadic, and understandably so considering that Mr. Gray is an appellate lawyer and partner at Andrews & Kurth, LLP.
Recently, however, Mr. Gray has made the time to share his insight. After just a few minutes of browsing his posts, I can say that the appellate practitioners will appreciate his return.
I particularly enjoyed this piece of advice: develop a story, not a timeline. A rendition of the facts should establish the scene and set up the narrative. Contemplate for a moment the opening lines of the greatest novels and movies:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away"
"Elmer Gantry was drunk."
Mr. Gray's examples made me think of the opening lines of classic children's books:
"In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon and a picture of... The cow jumping over the moon"
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse"
How we learn stories as a child informs our understanding of classic literature and movies. That is, we understand disputes - and a legal dispute is merely another type of conflict - through the ingredients that make a story, i.e., characters, setting, and plot.
In any event, I highly doubt this is the last time we will discuss Mr. Gray's blog. I highly recommend it to any lawyer interested in learning the art of appellate advocacy.