Preparing a federal circuit court of appeals filing can be intimidating. You must meet precise formatting and technical requirements while complying with the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and each circuit’s ever-changing local rules. A non-compliant federal circuit court brief can even be rejected at docketing, thereby damaging your—or your client’s—pursuit of justice.

Mastering these requirements while researching and drafting your argument can be overwhelming.

That’s why our friends over at Looking Glass are developing Looking Glass templates for every federal circuit court of appeals. Their goal is to ease the heavy burden of document preparation and FRAP/local rule research for filers across the country.

Unlike Microsoft Word, their templates will walk you through every step of the legal brief drafting process by offering rule-by-rule analysis, writing tips, and highlighting compliance pitfalls. The proprietary templates include:

  • Rule compliant margins, font, and leading (the space between adjacent lines of type). They also allow for unique pagination styles (i, 1, App. 1, 1-A) for drafters to create multiple sections within a single filing. Their circuit court templates come pre-built with required “section headings” for each type of brief, to better organize the drafting process.

  • Guidance notes drafted by experienced practitioners, based on decades of insight into court of appeals filings in the thirteen federal circuits. The notes are specifically built for each type of filing you may encounter: from opening briefs and excerpts of records to joint appendices and reply briefs.


It’s important to give your case its best possible chance at appellate review. That means freeing up as much time as possible for the legal research, writing, and editing required to submit a high-quality appellate brief.

Looking Glass’s template for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will be released soon. By year’s end, they plan to release templates for every federal circuit court in the country:

First Circuit
Second Circuit
Third Circuit
Fourth Circuit
Fifth Circuit
Sixth Circuit
Seventh Circuit
Eighth Circuit
Ninth Circuit
Tenth Circuit
Eleventh Circuit
District of Columbia Circuit
Federal Circuit

Looking Glass’s professional templates will free you from formatting headaches and allow you to focus on the merits of your argument. Clearly, staring at a blank Microsoft Word page isn’t the best way to start your appellate filing. Visit their FAQ page for more information or their About Us page to learn more about their company!