Using Parallelism in Appellate Briefs

The last post introduced Ward Farnsworth’s book, Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric,and discussed how attorneys could use classical rhetorical techniques when drafting appellate arguments. This post continues by discussing two types of parallelism:  isocolon and chiasmus.

Isocolon is the use of parallel sentences, clauses, or phrases that are similar in length with the same parts of speech often used in the same order. It is the difference between Lincoln saying that government by, for, and of the people shall not perish from the earth and what he said: “government by the people, for the people, and of the people shall not perish. . . ..” The repetitive prepositional phrases add rhythm and better highlight each element.

Chiasmus uses inverted or reverse parallelism, following an A B B A pattern.  It is not the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

Has anyone used either type of parallelism in their briefs? Please share your experience by leaving a reply or reaching me here.




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