How to Format an Appellate Brief, by Deborah Savadra, Lawyerist Blog
(Deborah Savadra is editor and chief blogger at Legal Office Guru, which offers The WordPerfect Lover’s Guide to Word as well as Microsoft Office video tutorials. You can follow her on Twitter at @legalofficeguru.)
Appellate briefs are not a project for beginners. And, regardless of what you read in this tutorial, you must follow your appellate court rules to the letter.
When your court’s rules tell you that it wants citations done a certain way, it mean exactly that. If the court’s rules say a brief must not go over a certain number of pages, do not even think about “fudging” the rules by changing the font, page size, or line spacing.
You see, all courts, not just appellate ones, write local rules for a reason. Whatever “trick” you may try to skirt around those rules, that court has already seen it and knows it when it sees it again. Courts take their local rules seriously, and so should you.
There are many posts and articles posted on my blog about the strategy and nuances of writing appellate briefs, as well as many excellent books on the subject. This tutorial will help you with the nuts and bolts of writing the bare bones, which is always useful regardless of your writing proficiency.
I also highly recommend Ms. Deborah Savadra’s blog, Legal Office Guru. She does an excellent job. -CCE
The appellate brief is undoubtedly one of the most complex pleadings, formatting-wise. Formatting requirements vary from court to court, going so far as to dictate the size and font of your type, your margins and your line spacing. (If you’ve ever had to do a U.S. Supreme Court brief, I feel your pain.) Even before you consider the text of your argument, you have to wrap your head around which pages have which style of page numbers, whether you must furnish a table of authorities, and how you have to deal with any appendices or references to the record. . . .
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