Thursday, October 20, 2016

Do you really need 14K words for a brief?

Image result for lots of wordsMonday's Moskovitz on Appeals column was titled You Don't Need 14,000 Words, about the coming reduction (effective December 1) of the word limit for federal appellate briefs, dropping the word-count from 14K to 13K. He says that "except in unusual situations, you don't need more than 13,000 words." His briefs are usually under 10K words, and he has even filed 5K-word briefs -- and that "the shorter briefs win just as often as the longer briefs."
What the article doesn't mention is that the circuits are free to opt out of the new rule and continue to allow 14K briefs. So far, the 2d, 7th, 9th, and Federal Circuits have all decided to keep the 14K-rule in place. Hooray!

See also Preparing for Changes to FRAP on Law360.
And also on Law360, see 6 Ways to be the High Court's Best Friend: avoid the 'me too' brief; illuminate broader implications; make friends who can influence people; be clear, concise and creative; it's ok to pile on -- to a point; and pick your battles.
FYI, the 4th edition of The Amicus Brief: Answering the Ten Most Important Questions About Amicus Practice, is now available.

Finally, an unpub'd case of note here from 4/1 starts like this: "This appeal illustrates the hazards of going off the record to discuss issues involving a complicated 12-page, 52-question special verdict form." Yep, it's an invited error case.