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English 220.003.

Major Writing Assignment #3: The Brief


First Draft Due: Monday, November 4 (5 points) Final Draft Due: Monday, November 11 (10 points) Rhetorical Situation: Pretend that shortly after you finished your memorandum (MWA #2), your senior partner informed you that the parties in your lawsuit have agreed to participate in an arbitration. Since you did so well on your last assignment, she wants you to handle the arbitration as co-lead counsel to the case. In arbitration, parties to a lawsuit agree to have their case decided outside of the courts by an agreed upon private judge or panel of judges, called an Arbitrator. Arbitration can take many forms, as the terms of the arbitration can be set by the parties via contractual agreement. Arbitration is generally much faster and less expensive than a full trial in the regular courts, and so it presents an attractive option for many litigants. In your lawsuit, the parties have agreed to a truncated form of binding arbitration. There will be no further discovery about the facts of the lawsuit. Instead, the parties will stipulate to all of the facts in the case file as it currently stands, and the Arbitrators will be asked to decide the case solely on this factual record. The parties have been asked to submit written briefs two weeks in advance of an oral argument, at which time each party will offer opening and closing arguments on behalf of their claims. The Arbitrator will then decide the case and award any damages or other relief the Arbitrator deems appropriate. Assignment: There are two parts to this assignment: (1) an individual writing assignment, and (2) a group presentation and oral argument. You must complete both in order to receive credit for this assignment. Individual Assignment: For your individual writing assignment, you are being asked to prepare a legal brief. Briefs are basically arguments. They are used by lawyers as a way to present the facts and issues to the decision maker before arbitration or trial. The goal is to persuade the decision maker to side with their clients claims and grant their clients request for relief. Briefs are more flexible genres than memoranda, in that there are fewer accepted conventions for organization and style. This means that you may organize your argument in any way you see fit. Nevertheless, the best arguments include the following elements: An Introduction which briefly summarizes the pertinent factual and legal issues in the case. At some point near the end of your introduction, you should make a demand by specifically asking for relief (i.e. explain what you want the decision maker to do in response to the lawsuit). After introducing the issues, you should have a section devoted to a Statement of Facts which summarizes and explains the factual record. Although the Arbitrator will have access to the complete record, you still should use this opportunity to explain and emphasize parts of the record which favor your side of the case. You want to make sure the Arbitrator understands your clients perspective of the factual issues in the case. A Discussion that engages in a well-organized and persuasive analysis of the issues in the case. Remember that a good discussion contains both a strong offense and a strong defense. For example, you should begin by explaining your affirmative claims and

English 220.003. Major Writing Assignment #3: The Brief


First Draft Due: Monday, November 4 (5 points) Final Draft Due: Monday, November 11 (10 points) defenses, clearly demonstrating why you deserve your requested relief. Remember also to attack your opponents claims and defenses by revealing the weaknesses of the other side. And you should preemptively defend against your opponents attack against your claims by showing why your opponents counter arguments are fallacious, misleading, inapplicable, or should otherwise not prevent the decisionmaker from granting your requested relief. A Conclusion that summarizes your strongest arguments and reiterates your demand for relief.

Since you will be arguing in front of an Arbitrator on a stipulated record, you should focus on making legal or policy arguments based on the factual record of the case. Remember also to rely on legal sources in support of your claims, since the Arbitrator will likely be a lawyer who will understand the legal requirements of the case. Your paper must contain at least 2,500 words. It may be formatted in any way that you wish, but please remember to cite your sources according to accepted conventions. Group Assignment: The second part of this assignment requires your active participation in a moot court exercise. You will be assigned to one of two opposing legal teams (either Plaintiff or Defendant) and then asked to prepare an opening and closing statement in support of your client in the lawsuit. Your team must offer a multimodal element with your presentation, such as a unique website, display, powerpoint, prezi, video, or audio file. Multimodal compositions combine text, images, and sound to offer an effective and coherent message to an audience. You will offer your arguments and presentation to the rest of the class during the week of November 18. Your peers will then act as Arbitrators and decide the case. You must participate equally in the group assignment in order to receive credit for MWA #3. Grading Rubric: This assignment is worth 15% of your final grade. Five percent (5%) will be based on timely submission of your First Draft and active participation in Peer Review. The remaining 10% will be allocated to your Final Draft and participation in the Group Assignment, which will be evaluated according to the following rubric:
Content: Group Assignment 25 20 points The group presentation is professional, well-organized, creative, and persuasive. The team eloquently advocates on behalf of their client and fully and logically responds to the arguments of the opposing side. The multimodal element 19 15 points 14 0 points The group presentation is The group presentation professional and persuasive, needs significant but needs improvement. The development. The team team advocates on behalf of does not adequately their client and responds to advocate on behalf of their the arguments of the client and/or does not opposing side. The respond to the arguments multimodal element enhances of the opposing side. The

English 220.003. Major Writing Assignment #3: The Brief


First Draft Due: Monday, November 4 (5 points) Final Draft Due: Monday, November 11 (10 points)
greatly enhances the groups the groups ethos and is multimodal element ethos and fully integrates with relevant to the presentation. detracts from the groups the presentation. ethos and/or is unhelpful. Content: 40 35 points 34 20 points 24 0 points Individual The legal brief is persuasive The legal brief is persuasive The legal brief needs Assignment and offers a well-reasoned and offers a reasoned and significant development in and legally supported legally supported argument in terms of reasoning and argument in support of the support of the clients claims. legal support. The brief clients claims. The brief The brief advocates on behalf does not adequately advocates on behalf of the of the client and addresses advocate on behalf of the client, counters the arguments opposing arguments, but client and/or does not from the opposing side, and needs further development in address opposing responds to the counter order to fully respond to and arguments. arguments made by the counter the opposing side. opponent. The brief asks for specific and reasonable relief. Organization 10-8 points 7-5 points 4-0 points Ideas are presented clearly Ideas are presented logically, The paper lacks clarity and logically so that the but the papers organization due to flaws in structure reader can easily follow the needs development. Sections and organization. writers reasoning. Sections are labeled but not clearly are clearly labeled and organized. organized logically. Tone and Style 10-8 points Style is graceful, compelling, and effective. Tone is engaging, consistent, and appropriate for the context. 7-5 points 4-0 points Style expresses clear ideas Style is unclear or but needs development. Tone ineffective. Tone is is generally appropriate for inappropriate for the context. context. 4-0 points There are numerous surface errors which distract the reader. 1-0 points There are numerous errors in formatting which distract the reader.

Grammar and 10-8 points 7-5 points Mechanics All paragraphs and sentences There are some distracting are free or mostly free from surface errors. distracting surface errors. Formatting 5-4 points 3-2 points The paper is formatted There are some errors in professionally and sources are formatting. cited according to accepted conventions.