Friday, March 13, 2015

Standing desks = shorter briefs?

Today's Wall St. Journal has a front page article about the proposed federal rule to drop briefs from 14K to 12.5K words: Why Lawyers Object to Making Legal Briefs Briefer: Plan to shrink briefs to 12,500 words draws protests from attorneys, cheers from bleary eyed judges.

The online article has some good photos, including one of a 9th Circuit argument in SF with Judge Nguyen in the corner. And the article ends like this:
Loquacious lawyers could also follow the example of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who composed his pithy opinions standing at his grandfather’s high desk. Said the late justice: “Nothing conduces to brevity like a caving in of the knees.”
Would American law have been different
if Justice Holmes had a standing treadmill desk?
The article also notes:
A new study of Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals civil decisions by two law professors found a correlation between success in court and length of briefs. Their conclusion: More words mean more wins.
For more on that study, see the California Blog of Appeal.