Posts tagged ‘Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers’

Four Out of Ten Books Published by TheCapitol.Net Receive High Honors at Benjamin Franklin Awards

How many presses can claim 40 percent of their books as winner or finalist in one of the publishing industry’s most prestigious awards? TheCapitol.Net is one that can. The Virginia-based DC-area publisher has published ten titles, all on understanding how the federal government, Washington, and the media actually work. Four of them have received recognition at the Benjamin Franklin Awards–the premier award in the independent publishing world.

Benjamin Franklin Awards, Finalist Benjamin Franklin Award, Winner

Organized by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and selected, in 2011, from some 1300 entries, the Benjamin Franklin Awards often go to much larger publishers, such as John Wiley & Sons, Dorling Kindersley, and Harvard Common Press.

Yet, at IBPA’s 23rd annual award ceremony held at Book Expo America (BEA) in New York recently, The Capitol.Net’s Testifying Before Congress: A Practical Guide to Preparing and Delivering Testimony before Congress and Congressional Hearings, by William N. LaForge, took top honors in the Professional and Technical category, while A Better Congress: Change the Rules, Change the Results, by Joseph Gibson, was a finalist in the Politics and Current Events category.

These two books, honored at the 2011 awards ceremony, join previous finalists Congressional Deskbook (2006) and Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers (2005) in achieving this honor.

Publisher Chug Roberts commented, “I’m thrilled that the quality of our books continues to be validated by this group of very tough judges. We’ve always tried to create books that complement our courses and are truly useful to those trying to get something done at the federal level, and this recognition demonstrates that we’re succeeding.”

Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers, by Keith Evans Congressional Deskbook, by Michael L. Koempel and Judy Schneider Testifying Before Congress, by William LaForge A Better Congress: Change the Rules, Change the Results: A Modest Proposal - Citizen's Guide to Legislative Reform
Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers Congressional Deskbook
Finalist, 2005
Congressional Deskbook
Finalist, 2006
Testifying Before Congress
Winner, 2011
A Better Congress
Finalist, 2011

To see more information about TheCapitol.Net’s books, go to

TheCapitol.Net is a privately held, non-partisan publishing and training company based in Alexandria, VA. For over 30 years, TheCapitol.Net and its predecessor, Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences, have been training professionals from government, military, business, and NGOs on the dynamics and operations of the legislative and executive branches and how to work with them.

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Advocacy Is Fragile

Rule 38 The Materials of Advocacy Are Fragile
As an advocate, one of your most important tasks is to persuade others to feel and think a certain way about an issue. You must be able to lead others to view your description of an issue or your solution to a problem as the most acceptable option.

6 orizzontale: lo è l'umana condizione
Creative Commons License photo credit: zak mc

Rule 39 Be Likeable
Make sure that you are likeable. At the very least, make sure you are more likeable than your opponent–the nice-guy approach is one of the most effective techniques possible. When you are affable, likeable and kind, these help evoke the feelings you desire from your audience Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers, by Keith Evansand they will naturally want to believe you. However, you must be sincere. The public has an amazing ability to sniff out insincerity. If you are only trying to act nice, you can be certain they will know it.

Rule 40 Aim to Create Sympathy Between You and Your Factfinder
You want to create sympathy between you and your audience. Developing sympathy is essential to your cause. By developing sympathy, other will be more willing to listen to you. In addition, it is likely they will place the kindest interpretation possible on what it is that you have to say. They will also be more reluctant to deny what you ask of them.

It is important to place yourself in the other person’s position and make an effort to get behind their eyes. This is a technique that does not take a lot of effort, but it can produce outstanding results. By putting yourself in the their position, you will find that you will not make nearly as many mistakes. One of the important advantages is that you will not say things that might offend your audience.

To learn more about advocacy and the best techniques to win others over to your issue, consider TheCapitol.Net’s workshop Effective Briefings, the Art of Persuasion.

Reference: Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers, by Keith Evans, Rules 38-40

For more information about becoming a better advocate, see these resources from TheCapitol.Net:

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Tips for Good Legal Writing

When handled properly, good legal writing stands out.

Municipal Court judges, 2001
Creative Commons License photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives

There are four basic questions that should be asked in considering whether a document meets the standards of good legal writing:

  • Is it easy to read?
  • Is it interesting?
  • Does it work?
  • Is it as short as possible?

If you are able to answer yes to all of these questions, your piece will stand out from the crowd and be a good example of written advocacy.

One of the biggest challenges of written advocacy is determining how much advocacy to use. At the outset, ask yourself what your objectives are for writing the piece. Advocacy is only required when you want to persuade someone to a certain point of view, and it does not come into play until you have an objective.

One of the most important goals of any written document is to be taken seriously. Even if your writing is accurate, it will be viewed poorly if it contains spelling mistakes and cumbersome sentences. The way in which you write reveals a great deal of information about yourself, including the words you use and the structure of your sentences. In many ways, writing is a good deal like body language, and it is your responsibility to know what your writing says about you.

Keep your writing concise. Lengthy paragraphs should be broken up so they are more easily read. Keep a brisk pace to your writing by using short sentences, occasionally Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers, by Keith Evansvarying the length of your sentences and writing in plain English rather than legalese.

To learn more about effective writing, consider our 2-day Word Workshop: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing, and Writing to Persuade.

Reference: Rule 89 Good Legal Writing is Easy to Read and Interesting, Accomplishing its Goal in as Few Words as Possible, in Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers, by Keith Evans

For more information about becoming a better advocate, see these resources from TheCapitol.Net:

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