Need a little inspiration? Check out this post at Good Copy, Bad Copy, illustrating and analyzing the former with an exemplary piece by Lord Denning.
I don’t know much about writing judicial opinions, let alone writing one that others will cite. But it can’t hurt to explain a legal concept with an original, memorable metaphor. For instance, banking lawyers will likely remember the case that this headnote came from as the “puff of smoke” case. And every appellate lawyer I know will remember that a case out there illustrates clear error by comparing it to the stench of dead fish. They may not remember the citation or even the case title, but they know they can find it by searching for the phrase “dead fish.” (As I did to come up with it for this post.)
Harry Steinberg has a worthwhile article in the New York Law Journal, The Fine Art of (Persuasively) Citing Cases. Harry focuses his article on New York practice, but many of his tips apply to briefwriting in any American court.