Do lawyers write down their arguments in full, or just have brief notes?
It depends upon the lawyer. And there are lawyers who use either or both methods to present their arguments.
Some lawyers are quick on their feet and have little trouble recalling the pertinent facts, so they can and do work from a simple outline, bullet points, or brief notes to keep them organized, then they fill in the details from memory, present their argument in the order the circumstances may dictate, and/or improvise as necessary.
Other lawyers are smart enough but get nervous easily or other reasons cause them to have a hard time memorizing everything they need or want to present. So these kinds of lawyers often find it better to write out their arguments word for word to ensure they state the argument correctly and don’t overlook any crucial points.
There are other lawyers who utilize a combination of the two methods described above, writing down their entire argument to refer to if needed (i.e., if they find themselves panicking or drawing a blank), but also having an outline to work from and being ready to go “off script” when necessary, so that they don’t get too dependent on word-for-word arguments that may get interrupted by questions from the judge and so they can re-arrange the order and presentation of their argument as circumstances may suggest or require.
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