1124847_20524973Below are some of the Court’s legal brief formatting rules that you may find surprising whether you are a first-time filer in the Supreme Court or a seasoned pro.

10.  Except for in an “in forma pauperis” case, all briefs must be in a 6 1/8 by 9 1/4 inch booklet.

9.  In a petition for certiorari, you must include a section which identifies the constitutional provisions or statutes at issue in your case.  Many first-time filers are surprised to learn that the provisions or statutes must be quoted verbatim.

8.  The font has to be in a Century family font.  Most documents, legal or otherwise, tend to be produced in Times New Roman.  But not in the Supreme Court.  Although TNR looks close to Century, it will get your brief rejected every time.

7.  The Rules require that there must be 2 point or more leading between lines.  “Leading” is an old printer’s term describing the space between lines of text.  Basically, you are in compliance with the rule if your lines are not so close that the letters are touching.

6.  Sometimes what is equally surprising is what is NOT in the Rules.  The Court has not adopted a uniform citation style for citing to various authorities or the record below.  Most attorneys use the Bluebook citation manual for guidance in this area, but really any method that is clear to the reader and used consistently throughout the brief is OK by the Court.

5.  The full contact info for the counsel of record must appear on the cover of the brief.  The counsel of record and any other attorney appearing on the cover must also be identified on the last page of the brief.  In other words, it may not be enough to simply place your name at the end of the brief.

4.  Speaking of signatures, many filers are surprised to learn that an ink-on-page signature is not required.  You do not even have to electronically “sign” the brief.  Just “respectfully submitted,” and your signature block from the cover is all you need.

3.  Quotes consisting of 50 or more words must be block-indented.  Not only is this generally good practice for style and aesthetics, but it is actually required by the Court.

2.  Many filers feel the temptation to include in their appendix the portions of the record that they are quoting in their brief.  The Rules actually say that it is not necessary to do this, and it is good practice to keep your appendix as streamlined as possible.

1.  If your state Supreme Court or federal Court of Appeals issued a denial of rehearing, that document will need to appear after the other court opinions in your appendix.  This is so even though it is the most recent order in your case and seemingly should come first.