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Proposal to Shorten Principal Briefs Leads to Discussion - Appellate Practice News

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Appellate Practice News

Posted on: Aug 25, 2014

A new proposal to reduce the word limit for prinicpal briefs in the U.S. Courts of Appeals has sparked conversation. The current word limit is 14,000 and the new proposed limit is 12,500. In a blog post by Howard Bashman, he notes that this is about an 11% decrease, which works out to be about six pages less.

Some say the proposal is based on a misunderstanding about how many words fit on a printed page. It is believed that this could also help with concision and clarity in principal briefs, which would allow the courts to handle cases more efficiently. However, Bashman notes, this reduction in pages could also be the difference "between being able to include an additional argument or being able to adequately develop all existing arguments in a brief consisting of more than just a few arguments".

To read Bashman's blog, click here. The preliminary draft and call for comments can be found here. Written comments about the proposal are due by February 17, 2015.

Content submitted by Stephen J. Peters, Harrison & Moberly LLP. If you would like to submit content for the IndyBar Appellate Practice section page, contact Mary Kay Price at


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