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How to Build a Better Affidavit: Literary Techniques for Legal Writing


Created on June 25, 2020



While it carries a unique legal significance, an affidavit is still just a story. To be effective, it has to engage its reader. And while they carry a unique legal authority, a judge or asylum officer is just a person. Their opinion of a story is affected by the same literary techniques used in every other story they've experienced. 

This program, presented by attorney Geoff Kagan Trenchard of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, focuses on tangible techniques for making every sentence of your affidavits do as much work as possible for your case. The course looks at structural issues of affidavits as well, and how to make sure you are showcasing the most important information. Finally, it discusses editing techniques that will help streamline any piece of writing, legal, or otherwise. This training uses LGBTQ asylum affidavits as an example, but the techniques are applicable to any case. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review the purpose of an affidavit and how it serves your case

  2. Gain techniques for making each sentence in your affidavit do as much work as possible to support your case

  3. Identify how to structure your affidavits effectively

  4. Discuss editing techniques to streamline your legal writing

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