Tuesday, August 7, 2007
A court's comment about an excessively long brief: " . . . [I]n recent years we have witnessed great technological advances in the methods of reproduction of the written word. Too often this progress is merely viewed as a license to substitute volume for logic in an apparent attempt to overwhelm the courts, as though quantity, and not quality, was the virtue to be extolled. As we noted many years ago, for obvious reasons this problem never arose when ‘every lawyer wrote his points with a pen’ [citation omitted]. Hopefully, the solution to this problem will not require that we return to that system, ignoring decades of technological advances." See Slater v. Gallman, 38 N.Y.2d 1, 339 N.E.2d 863, 377 N.Y.S.2d 448 (1975)(assessing costs against the appellant for his 284-page long brief).
As the court had noted, "His argument wanders aimlessly through myriad irrelevant matters of administrative and constitutional law, pausing only briefly to discuss the issues raised by this appeal." An accompanying footnote catalogs "statement of questions presented, 16 pages; statement of the nature of the case and facts, 50 pages; . . . reproduction of statutes, 40 pages; table of contents, 14 pages; table of authorities, 11 pages; legal argument on the merits, 126 pages; and a purported explanation as to length of his brief, 4 pages. . . ." Id. at 4, 339 N.E.2d at 864, 377 N.Y.S.2d at 450.
This might be a useful case to use as an admonition when students excessively cut and paste on their first drafts or when they argue that thoroughness demands excessive length.