MA Supreme Judiciary Court ruling

E-filing Dictionary: 7 Important Terms and Distinctions

From Adobe Acrobat and Reader, to PACER and searchable PDF, the legal lexicon is expanding to make room for electronic filing terms as courts nationwide adopt and operate electronic case filing (ECF) systems. Traditional document management and case filing procedures continue to be supplanted in context by the new landscape of ECF and online case […]

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Appellate Brief formatting

Formatting Your Brief on Appeal | U.S. Court of Appeals

If words should never get in the way of a solid thought, then clearly, neither should formatting. A legal brief must follow certain formats prescribed by the court, such as font size, type and even style. However, over-zealous use of font styles can impede the readability of your brief. A paper brief submitted to the […]

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Editing an appellate brief

Editing Your Brief for Concision

  It’s not often that a dispute between litigants about brief length makes the news. That’s why this post in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog caught my eye. As the Law Blog reported, counsel for the parties in Lopez v. The Gap, Inc. were at loggerheads over The Gap’s alleged manipulation of the line spacing in its summary […]

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efiling in US courts

Electronic Case Filing Systems Primer: U.S. Appeals Courts

As the Great Bard once wrote: Observe degree, priority, and place. –William Shakespeare. Application can be made of Shakespeare’s words of wisdom to the oft-confusing world of electronic case filing (ECF.) The degree to which courts nationwide now depend upon electronic case filing systems is far beyond threshold levels. The push toward a fully digitized […]

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better legal brief writing

How to Establish and Maintain Your Credibility With the Court

More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle identified ethos—credibility—as one of the three core components of persuasion (the other two are logos, logic, and pathos, emotional appeal). Because your goal when writing a brief is to persuade the court to rule in your client’s favor, it’s important to understand how to establish and maintain your […]

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better legal brief writing

The Most Important Part of a Legal Brief—it’s Not What You Think

What section of a brief is most critical to persuading the court to rule in your client’s favor? Although most lawyers believe that the argument section fulfills that role, many legal writing experts disagree, maintaining instead that the statement of facts is the most important part of a brief. As Brian Foley and Ruth Anne […]

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E-filing help desk

Appellate Filing: Avoid Deficiency Notice Minefields

Appellate Filing: Avoid Deficiency Notice In the realm of litigation, there is always room for exception. Most are not hard and fast “exceptions to the rule,” but rather a comprehensive exercise in exemplary findings, logic and reason. Where procedural law takes focus, there are exceptions to the rule, hidden rules, and often-overlooked rules. Nowhere is […]

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write better legal briefs

How to Write Effective Argument Headings

Argument headings (also called point headings) play two important roles in legal briefs. First, they serve a rhetorical purpose: they let the reader know what’s addressed in the text that follows and (if effectively phrased) point the reader toward the conclusion the writer wants the reader to draw. Second, they serve a practical purpose. Unfortunately, […]

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Apellate filing efiling and assembly

Appellate Filing | When to request relief from word limits

Appellate Filing & When to request word limit relief The great Oliver Wendell Holmes once opined that: “A word is not a crystal; transparent and unchanging. It is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in colour and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used.” Towne vs. […]

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Lisa Solomon -legal writing services

How to Write a Better Legal Brief

Use Storytelling Techniques to Write Better Briefs You’ve undoubtedly had the experience of reading a book that’s so compelling you can’t put it down. You can make your briefs more compelling—and therefore more persuasive—to the judges and law clerks who read them by applying in your briefs the same storytelling techniques used by creative writers. […]

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