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Federal Appellate Judges Want To Shorten The Length of Briefs, Lawyers Object, by Professor James B. Levy, Legal Skills Prof Blog


If an appeal is extremely complex, would a reduction in the size of a brief compromise the ability of a party to win an appeal to a federal appellate court? Apparently, appellate judges do not think so.

Before making up your mind, please read Professor Sirico’s posts, also included by Professor Levy in his original post. It may not be a question of length, but experience. What do you think? -CCE

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has posted this story about the reaction by many appellate attorneys to a proposal that would reduce the word count on federal appellate briefs under the federal rules of appellate practice from 14,000 to 12,500. (Interestingly, my co-blogger Professor Sirico reported last month on a new study (and here) that supports the lawyers’ objections to the proposed rule change insofar as the study found that longer briefs filed by appellants ‘strongly’ correlates with success on appeal. However, the authors of the study cautioned against inferring that it is word count, rather than the complexity of the underlying issues which may require more thorough explanations, that explains the correlation). . . .