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Friday, January 17, 2014

Courts - "Writing a brief for the iPad judge"

Thanks to this Eugene Volokh post for highlighting this Jan. 14th article in the Columbia Business Law Review, written by Daniel Sockwell, titled "Writing a Brief for the iPad Judge".For instance:

A brief written to be read on an iPad should differ from one written for text in three main ways: it should use fewer footnotes, should use a different font, and should avoid confusing hierarchical organization. * * *

Perhaps most importantly, briefs written for iPads should avoid the traditional legal hierarchical headings: Part I, Section A, Subsection 1, etc. When flipping though a paper brief, a reader can physically feel if they are near the beginning or end and correctly guess if the Section A they are reading is I.A or VII.A. For digital readers, however, every A looks the same. This provides a strong reason to depart from tradition and use “scientific” numbering: Part 1, Section 1.1, Subsection 1.1.1. While some argue that scientific hierarchical headings are always superior, when writing for the screen, the case is even stronger. (As an added advantage, the scientific hierarchy avoids the confusion about what to call a “ii”). The same considerations, according to Ilene Strauss, Director of Columbia Law School’s Legal Writing Program, also emphasize “the need to use effective headings,” which can help “keep a reader on track within a smaller screen.”

An earlier ILB post, from June 12, 2012, referred to a post written by a federal judge on the use of iPads by judges.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 17, 2014 09:47 AM
Posted to Courts in general