Appellate Advocacy Blog

Editor: Tessa L. Dysart
The University of Arizona
James E. Rogers College of Law

Thursday, March 19, 2015

WSJ on Federal Word Count Proposal Debate

The federal appellate courts are currently considering a change to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32(a)(7)(B) that would reduce the word-limit of principal appellate briefs from 14,000 to 12,500. Law blogs, especially those of an appellate bent, have reported on this as comments rolled in over the last several weeks. This blog is far behind on mentioning it, and even now, I don't have a strong opinion on the proposal. But it seemed worth mentioning that the issue has reached the general public in the form of a Wall Street Journal article.

Oddly, what stood out to me in this article was this bit:

Michael Gans, clerk of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, who oversaw the word-count study, says the process couldn’t have been more painstaking. It was carried out by a high-school graduate who interned at his office and spent a recent summer in a cubicle counting every single word of 200 printed-out briefs that served as the sample. “I felt sorry for her, but that’s what she did all summer,” Mr. Gans said. “She still wants to go to law school.”

Perhaps optical character recognition software could have been used?

hat tip to reader: Professor Jennifer Romig

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/appellate_advocacy/2015/03/wsj-on-word-counts.html

Appellate Court Reform, Appellate Practice, Appellate Procedure, Federal Appeals Courts, Legal Writing | Permalink

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