The Power of The Written Word Is Best Expressed Through Advocacy

I have previously addressed the subject of paragraphing in this blog (see last week for example) and in particular the use of advocacy in paragraphing. Advocacy in writing exemplifies the power of the written word. Mastery of paragraphing and the use of advocacy or persuasive writing will go a long way to further sharpen your writing skills. Find a subject that interests you, one that you are really passionate about, and write about it. Even if you don’t submit your writing to a third person, just writing about it should help you focus on words and phrases that reflect your feelings. Practice makes perfect. The more you write, the better your writing will become. Writing about a subject that really interests you will thus help you to become a better writer.

Here are a couple of examples of writing involving advocacy of a position.

For example, people who disparage class actions may not appreciate the good the do. Class actions are usually very beneficial to the public, even if the successful lawyer(s) does make a lot of money. Class actions are disfavored by many people because they believe that the lawyers get most of the money and individual class members get little, if any. The problem with that argument is that the lawyer who files the case takes a lot of risk. That lawyer may have to work for years without pay and must usually spend a substantial amount of money up front on investigative costs and expert witness fees. Failure to get a court order certifying the intended class as a lawful class is generally regarded as the “death knell” for the case. The lawyer may wind up with nothing if the class is not certified or the case is lost after trial.

On the other hand a successful class action may result in a court order and resulting judgment correcting questionable company practices such as putting a dangerous or unhealthy product on the market. Moreover, class actions are often settled. A settlement usually creates a class fund, which is approved by the court, used to compensate individual class members for damages suffered, and to pay attorneys fees. Under these circumstances, the lawyer’s pay is earned.

The most satisfying class action I filed was brought against two banks, Bank One, and First USA Bank, for using their customers’ credit card information for telemarketing purposes without the customers’ knowledge or consent. This case was certified for class action with a class of approximately four million California credit card holders and was ultimately settled in the six to seven million dollar range. Settlement proceeds, after attorneys fees and costs, were distributed to court approved charities because it was not practicable, in view of the small individual losses, to distribute any money to individual credit card holders.

Another example concerns politicians who lie publicly. Politicians who lie are particularly galling. How can any such politician be believed? It means a total loss of credibility. It’s bad enough if the candidate/incumbent is running for or holds a lower office such as city council. But it’s worse, much worse, if the politician is running for or holds a higher office, especially if that office is president. As a former trial lawyer, the use of a jury instruction, “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus,” (false as to one thing, false as to everything) can be a devastating weapon in trial. Thus, if the judge gives the instruction, you can argue to the jury that if a party or witness lied about one thing, he/she can be said to have lied about everything, a very effective argument.

So it should be with politicians. And there are politicians on the public scene who have lied, been proven to have lied, but are being given a whitewash by certain media outlets. You and I, as public jurors, have the right to disbelieve, justifiably, anything they say. When you hear someone in office or running for office make a public statement and you know that person to have lied in the past, you have an absolute right to disbelieve anything he/she says and to vote accordingly as the opportunity arises.

Further guidelines on paragraphing are contained in my book, “The Art of Clear Writing,” available on books and in print.

Copyright©2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement

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