Monday, February 9, 2015

Electronic Briefs Explained

Probate Court Judge Don Wilkes,
Ms. Lisa Joyner and Ms. Kristie Pope
Candler Co., Georgia
Attorney Ms. Elizabeth “Ellie” Neiberger wrote a terrific article for the Florida Law Journal (February, 2015 Volume 89, No. 2, page 46) titled “Judge-Friendly Briefs in the Electronic Age”.  She starts the article with the advice “(t)he golden rule for any type of writing is ‘write for the reader’.  Appellate judges read a lot, and how they read is changing.”


The article’s major sections and Ms. Neiberger’s sage advice includes:
  • Form is the Gatekeeper to Communicating Substance
  • Electronic Briefs and Records in Florida
  • How Florida Appellate Judges Read
  • We Read Differently on Screens
  • Tighten-Up on Traditional Readability Techniques
  • Only File Text-Based PDF’s
  • Avoid Footnotes
  • Help Judges Navigate

And she concludes: “Today and in the future, attorneys must confront the challenges and distractions faced by a screen-reading judiciary.  Briefs must not only be readable; they must be usable.  Persuasive appellate briefs in the digital era will accommodate the new needs of appellate judges and continue to adapt as those needs change.”

Thank you Ellie for this excellent article and your insights.  We hope to hear more from you in the future.

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