Appellate Insights

Dec 09, 2021 Alana H. Rotter
Appearances Matter

At a time of year when holiday decorations and beautifully-wrapped gifts abound, remember that visual presentation also matters in legal briefs, motions, and other filings.  Here are some formatting tips to increase readability and convey your message with maximum impact:

  • Use frequent headings and subheadings.  This orients readers, and also highlights your key points for anyone skimming quickly.
  • Keep paragraphs short, and use bullet points where appropriate.  Breaking up the text helps keep the reader’s attention.
  • Left-justify text instead of full-justifying it, and avoid all-caps in headings.  Research shows that full-justified text and all-caps headings are hard for readers to process.

►  The practical message:  Review your draft motions, briefs, and other filings with an eye toward their appearance, and strive to make them as visually appealing as possible.