Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges

By Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner | Thomson West | $29.95 | 245 pages | 2008

Secretary Karen gave me this book for my 69th birthday. It is a useful volume on appellate advocacy.

Appellate practice was not my forte. Trials were. Perhaps if I'd had available this guide my record on appeals would have improved.

Justice Scalia is a familiar name to all lawyers. Mr. Garner is the editor-in-chief of Black's Eighth Edition. He wrote A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, which I consult almost daily.

Making Your Case is organized into four parts:

  1. General Principles of Argumentation,
  2. Legal Reasoning,
  3. Briefing, and
  4. Oral Argument.

There are 115 commands, including "Learn how to handle a difficult judge."

On a few points the authors disagree, so the reader gets "the Garner view" followed by "the Scalia view." An example of disagreement concerns footnotes. Those of you familiar with the landmark Confrontation Clause opinion in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), know that Justice Scalia has a penchant for footnotes, including "substantive" footnotes.

I recommend that you purchase this book for your law library.


Don Paine DONALD F. PAINE is of counsel to the Knoxville firm of Paine, Tarwater, Bickers, and Tillman LLP.