Effective Legal Writing Workshop | The American Association For Justice

Effective Legal Writing Workshop

November 3, 2016 to November 4, 2016
Program Information:

AAJ Headquarters | Washington, DC

Sponsored by Lisa Blue and Williams Kherkher

About the Seminar:

Legal writing is an essential, yet frequently overlooked, skill for every trial attorney. Pretrial motions set the tone and can even make or break your case, which is why it is so important to capture the attention of your judge right from the introductory paragraph of your first brief. At AAJ's Effective Legal Writing Workshop, you will learn how to understand and sympathize with your audience, master a unique writing style, improve your presentation, craft an appealing narrative, and curate the content to keep your reader engaged from beginning to end.  This seminar features a mix of lectures and small group workshops to help you receive maximum individualized attention. Whether you are new to the practice of law or a seasoned attorney, this seminar is sure to teach you practical skills to utilize in your practice immediately.  

Registration Fees:

AAJ Members: $495 | Nonmembers: $595

Online registration has closed.

  • If you are an AAJ member and have been admitted to the bar for five years or less, you can attend the Depositions College for 25% off. (Does not apply if you have previously attended an AAJ Education seminar or college.) Discount not available online--please call 800-622-1791 to register.
  • Register two or more lawyers from your firm at the same time, and take $70 off the registration fee for each registrant. Discount not available online--please call 800-622-1791 to register.

Contact Education 800.622.1791 | 202.965.3500, ext. 8612 | education@justice.org


Thursday, November 3

8:00 - 8:45am

Morning Session
8:45am - 12:00pm
     • Understanding & Sympathizing with your Audience
     • The Importance of Style
     • Presentation Matters
     • The Introduction: The Most Important Three Pages of Your Brief
     • Workshop Introductions

Networking Lunch
12:00 - 1:00pm

Afternoon Session
1:00 - 5:00pm
​     • Workshop #1: Creating a Narrative
     • Workshop #2: Framing for the Hostile Judge
     • Day 1 Wrap Up

Networking Reception
5:00 - 6:30pm

​Friday, November 4

Welcome Back
8:00 - 8:30am

Morning Session
8:30 - 11:45am
     • Curating the Content
     • Editing is Essential
     • Workshop #3: Crafting a Paragraph

Lunch Break
11:45am - 1:00pm

Afternoon Session
1:00 - 3:30pm
     • Workshop #4: The Introduction
     • Program Wrap Up


Invited Faculty:

Annika K. Martin

Annika K. Martin has extensive litigation experience in cutting-edge environmental, mass tort, product defect, and consumer protection cases and a demonstrated facility for explaining complex legal matters in simple terms. She has served as a resource for journalists on these and other matters, both on television and for print media. An active member of the legal community, she serves as the co-vice chair of the Class Action Litigation Group and on several committees within the American Association for Justice (AAJ), including Amicus Curiae, Legal Affairs, Publications, Public Education, and the Section on Toxic, Environmental, and Pharmaceutical Torts (STEP). Ms. Martin is also a working group co-captain for Women En Mass, and a dialogue leader for the Sedona Conference. She also speaks and writes regularly on issues of class actions, mass torts, and e-discovery. Ms. Martin generously donates to AAJ PAC. Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is an AAJ Leaders Forum member and Ms. Martin works in their New York, New York office. 

Benjamin McGrath

Benjamin McGrath began working at The New Yorker in 1999, and has been a staff writer since 2003. He has contributed more than two hundred stories to The Talk of the Town, and his feature subjects have included Michael Bloomberg, the hip-hop radio station Hot 97, and a Native American community in the mountains of New Jersey. His first feature story, which appeared in 2002, explored the new look of the Professional Bowlers Association, and he has continued to write frequently about sports. His pieces for the magazine have been collected in “The Best American Sports Writing 2012,” “The Best American Science Writing 2008,” and “The Best of Technology Writing 2007,” among other anthologies. The New Yorker is located in New York, New York. 

Andre M. Mura

Andre M. Mura is a partner at Gibbs Law Group, LLP and of counsel to Girard Gibbs, LLP with experience representing plaintiffs in class action and complex litigation concerning consumers’ and workers’ rights, products liability, drug and medical devices, federal jurisdiction, and constitutional law. Prior to joining Gibbs Law Group, Mr. Mura was senior litigation counsel at the Center for Constitutional Litigation PC, where he represented plaintiffs in high-stakes appeals and complex litigation in state supreme courts and federal appellate courts. He is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Plaintiffs Policy Task Force, the Lawyers Committee of the National Center for State Courts (LCNCSC), Pound Civil Justice Institute, and Consumer Attorneys of California. He is a member of the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) Legal Affairs Committee and generously donates to AAJ PAC. Gibbs Law Group, is a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum and Mr. Mura work in the Oakland, California office. 

Jerome F. O'Neill, course advisor

Jerome F. O’Neill concentrates his practice in litigation on behalf of injured persons and their survivors, commercial litigation, and white collar criminal defense. He has taught nationwide on trial advocacy topics. He is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell and is consistently named among The Best Lawyers in America and New England Super Lawyers. He is a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers (ISB), a past president of the Vermont Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA), is certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA), and is the chair of the Vermont Supreme Court Evidence Rules Committee. He is chair of the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) National College of Advocacy (NCA) Board of Trustees, co-chair of AAJ’s Jury Bias Litigation Group, and chair of the Child Sex Abuse Litigation Group. He has served on several of AAJ’s committees, including the Election Committee, Litigation Group Leaders Council, and Judicial Independence Committee and is a member of AAJ’s Products Liability Section. Mr. O’Neill generously donates to AAJ’s PAC. Gravel & Shea, PC is located in Burlington, Vermont.

Claire Prestel

Claire Prestel provides strategic advice and litigation assistance to labor union clients. She has provided advice regarding efforts to improve conditions for the growing homecare workforce and has co-authored Supreme Court amici briefs for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and others in cases challenging the Affordable Care Act, fair-share fee requirements, and “implied certification” liability under the False Claims Act. Prior to joining James & Hoffman, PC, Ms. Prestel was a staff attorney at Public Justice, PC, a plaintiff-side public-interest law firm. James & Hoffman, PC is located in Washington, District of Columbia.

Matthew W. Wessler

Matthew W. Wessler focuses on public interest and plaintiffs’-side appellate and complex litigation. Mr. Wessler handles high-profile cases at all levels of both state and federal court and has argued multiple cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Outside of the Supreme Court, Mr. Wessler’s practice involves a wide range of areas including class actions, health care, employee benefits, consumer protection, preemption, arbitration, and banking. He was named a 2015 Washington DC Rising Star in appellate litigation and has been profiled by the National Law Journal for his appellate work on behalf of plaintiffs. He routinely speaks in front of audiences across the country, and to the media, on issues affecting plaintiffs’ litigation and public interest law. His cases have been profiled in major media outlets, including the New York TimesWashington Post, ReutersBloomberg News, and Mother Jones. Mr. Wessler is a member of the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) Section on Toxic, Environmental, and Pharmaceutical Torts (STEP) and the Legal Affairs Committee. Gupta Wessler, PLLC is located in Washington, District of Columbia.


American Association for Justice members attending this program can receive a preferred rate at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Washington DC Downtown​ of $279 per night for single or double occupancy, plus any applicable state and local taxes and fees.  To receive this rate, contact the Fairfield Inn & Suites directly and request the American Association for Justice discounted rate. Rooms are subject to availability. For cancellations or alterations to existing reservations, contact the hotel directly. AAJ is not responsible for cancellation or early departure fees.

Fairfield Inn & Suites
500 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 289-5959

If you would rather stay elsewhere, HERE is a list of other suggested hotels in the area. 

Your registration includes:
  • Approximately 11.5 continuing legal education credits, which can be applied towards AAJ’s professional recognition programs
  • Reference materials on a USB drive
  • Complimentary continental breakfast and coffee, as well as lunch
  • Networking Reception
Who should attend:

This is an open program—invite a plaintiff trial lawyer colleague! Nonmembers can register by calling AAJ Education at 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, ext. 8612.

Program Location:

AAJ Headquarters
777 6th St. NW
Ste. 200
Washington, DC  20001


Call us. We'll provide you with names and phone numbers of previous attendees of AAJ Education programs who will be pleased to answer your questions. Or, if you prefer to speak with a course advisor or faculty member, we will arrange that as well. Call 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, ext. 8612.

MCLE/NCA Requirements:

AAJ has filed for MCLE credit in the appropriate jurisdictions.  Registered participants can receive 11.5 CLE* credits depending on the jurisdiction and will be applied to your participation in AAJ’s professional recognition programs. AAJ Education programs are routinely accredited by states requiring continuing legal education. CLE questions may be addressed by reading the FAQ calling the CLE Coordinator at 800-622-1791, ext. 9594 or 202-965-3500, ext. 9594.​

Click here to learn more about AAJ's Professional Recognition Programs, Achievement Recognition Program (ARP) and Advanced Studies in Trial Advocacy (ASTA), or call 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, ext. 9594.

The Achievement Recognition Program (ARP) provides Advocate, Fellow, and Diplomate recognition to AAJ members. To gain ARP credits, submit a certificate of attendance for every seminar, college, and convention you attend.

* Number of credits may vary depending on calculation method used by individual state accreditation agencies. AAJ is a State Bar of California MCLE-approved provider.

Special Assistance:

AAJ Education will make every effort to ensure that its meetings are held in facilities that are fully accessible to persons with mobility disabilities. If you plan to attend our program and need special facilities or assistance relating to a disability, please call 800-622-1791 or 202-965-3500, ext. 8612.

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations received by October 26, 2016 will result in a refund less a 10% administrative charge. Cancellations received October 27 - November 1, 2016 will result in a voucher for the entire registration fee, which may be applied toward an AAJ Education college, seminar, or webinar held within one calendar year of the date of issue. Requests for refunds or vouchers received within 48 hours of the program will not be honored. AAJ is not responsible for any room cancellation fees or other travel fees which may result from your cancellation. Cancellation requests must be made in writing. Fax or email your cancellation letter to the registrar at 202-625-7084 or education@justice.org.

Contribute to the AAJ Education Fund:

Please consider a donation to the AAJ Education Fund 501(c)(3). Contributions support educational programs and activities to preserve and protect the civil justice system. Learn more>>

Terms and Conditions:

The American Association for Justice reserves the right to, in its sole discretion, refuse entrance to the event and/or remove any individual from the event whose behavior is disruptive and/or is not consistent with the character and purpose of the event. All American Association for Justice badges are the property of the American Association for Justice and must be returned upon request.

By registering for this AAJ Education program, you agree to receive electronic, written, and telephonic communication from AAJ staff regarding the program and to have your name, firm, city, and state included on the participant and exhibitor/sponsor roster.  AAJ may also need to contact you to service your membership record or to provide you with information about your membership, products and services, and advocacy and legislative updates.  By providing your contact information, including phone number, fax number, and email address, you consent and give permission for AAJ to contact you by any of those means, which may include calls to your mobile phone, faxes, or emails. You may contact AAJ at any time to change your preferences.

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