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Judges Agree: Limit the Number of Pages in Your Brief

Here's another tip from Bryan A. Garner's The Winning Brief: 100 Tips for Persuasive Briefing in Trial and Appellate Courts.

After many years cite checking briefs, I've come across very few that were less than the maximum number of pages a court would allow. Bryan Garner makes a bold recommendation: "Strive to halve your page limits." This may be doomed to fall on deaf ears, but consider the advice offered by the audience for legal briefs:

"Eye fatigue and irritability set in well before page 50." - Hon. Patricia Wald

"If I attempt a ball-park figure of the number of appellate briefs that I have read, I would put the figure at about 12,600. This means I have read some 630,000 pages. Probably about 400,000 of these pages were unnecessary." - Hon. Ruggero J. Aldisert

"Let me add an incentive to the production of short and pertinent briefs. The longer you make your brief, the more likely that most of the pre-argument analysis of your case will be turned over to a law clerk who just finished the bar exam." - Hon. Arthur L. Alarcon

"The shorter the brief, the more effective it will be." – Hon. Daniel M. Friedman

“To be persuasive, a brief must be read. Its chances of being read and assimilated are in inverse proportion to its length.” – Hon. Jim R. Carrigan

“If I pick up a brief of 49 and half pages, it has a little less credibility than one that succinctly argues its points in 25 pages.” – Hon. Jerry E. Smith


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