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Drafting in the Age of Screens: Four Tips for Drafting More Effective Briefs (and Other Filings)

Perspectives by the Younger Lawyers Division of the Federal Bar Association
05 March 2018

In 1995, the federal courts introduced electronic court filing. But twenty-three years later, lawyers have yet to harness e-filing’s potential for more functional, useful, and persuasive filings. With the state of technology today, continued apathy is unsustainable.

Each year an increasing number of judges review filings on a screen (both computers and tablets). In 2012, a study suggested that more than 50% of federal judges used iPads to do court work.1 To be effective advocates, lawyers must take this into account. With a handful of small and easy-to-implement changes, lawyers can make their filings more persuasive and useful for the courts, regardless of the medium in which they are read. Here are four tips to get you started and resources to check out if you want to learn more.

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1In 2012, 58% of federal judges used iPads for their court. Nuffer, David (United States District Judge for the District of Utah), Judges + iPads = Perfect Fit?, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog (June 12, 2012).