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Proposal To Shorten Appeals Court Briefs

April 2, 2015

The Federal Appellate Rules Advisory Committee this week held a public hearing to get additional comments on its proposal to shorten the maximum word length of federal appellate briefs, from 14,000 words to 12,500 words. The FRAP has said that the 14,000-word limit was adopted in error to begin with, but Seventh Circuit Judge Frank H. Easterbrook argued that assertion, potentially undermining the judiciary’s primary reason for seeking the reduction in brief size. Many lawyers have protested the proposal, but Judge Laurence Silberman, who spent 30 years on the D.C. Appeals Court, told the Wall Street Journal, “My colleagues all believe the briefs are too long now. You get numb.”

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