Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Yes Shorter is Better (at least in legal briefing)

OK, you know who you are.  The serial page extension requesters.  But Judge, we have to have 100 pages to explain it.  I know, I know, we've all done it.  And yes I agree sometimes it's necessary.  But District Judge Joy Flowers Conti has a very good reason to resist the temptation of going page limit crazy.  What's that?  Well, as she has observed:
Counsel and the parties should be aware of the court’s experience that shorter briefs are almost always more persuasive because they get to the point faster. They also contain less extraneous material that dilutes the parties’ main arguments, and frequently interferes with prompt resolution.
So there you have it.  As Blaise Pascal ( a brilliant writer skilled at humor, mockery, and vicious satire) said, "I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short."  Can't say it better (or should I say shorter) than that.  Bet you can't either.

You can read the order here.

Nugget (I know you've missed it): Counsel should be aware that the court discourages reply briefs as usually repetitive and therefore wasteful. Reply briefs therefore should promptly state the novel matter contained in the opposition brief that merits a reply, and not merely assert that opposing counsel has misstated the law. 

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