, , , ,

Paragraphs and Indentation Formatting for Persuasive Writing, by Collin Walke, Vol. 86 OBJ No. 5 (2014).


Contrary to that pesky little voice in your head at this very moment, formatting is not a boring topic and is absolutely critical when writing a legal brief. Aside from the technical rule requirements for formatting briefs, which will be discussed in greater detail below, formatting is essential for persuasion. One of the best legal writers I have ever had the privilege of working with has a paperweight on his desk that reads: ‘Good writing is clear thinking made visible.’ Without good formatting, quality content will be lost in the mire of facts, law and argument.

The point of this article is to outline what good formatting looks like. First, the brief must be written in accordance with the formatting rules of your particular court. A brief for the district court of Oklahoma County will look different from a brief for the Western District of Oklahoma. Second, the format of the brief must be laid out so that it assists the reader in understanding your position. Finally, your format should match the needs of the particular brief. . . .

[Emphasis added.]