Why tables can be the worst part of creating a brief

Creating tables is a chore. Hyperlinking each authority to specific pages in your brief, only to have to start over when you add a new paragraph and all the page numbers shift, just feels like a waste of time. Getting your formatting just right and updating all citations to their proper form could take hours of frustration. Although a decent amount of the time spent preparing a brief is writing and refining your argument, the time that isn’t is monotonous, tedious and prone to error. As the future of brief writing trends towards adding more requirements (see: electronic filing and bookmarking becoming mandatory for many courts nationwide, and hyperlinking citations gaining court approval as an easy way to connect opinions), making sure the minutiae is as solid as the content of the brief itself will continue to be a top priority. 

An unfortunate consequence of having to keep track of all of these requirements and implement them properly is that the actual content can suffer, as a result of having to spend time away from the substance of your argument. The 4-5+ hours spent on the technical details could have been spent elsewhere: enhancing a less-than-stellar sub point, working on another brief, or even just taking the time to rest and relax. Thankfully, there are definitely some excellent alternatives to doing everything yourself. Paralegal services are always an easy and efficient way to increase productivity, and great for firms with multiple litigators. For smaller firms, or to further empower paralegals at larger firms, services like TypeLaw that take care of formatting and electronic requirements can be an exceptional asset. At the end of the day, though, any of these services either directly or indirectly improve productivity, reduce the stress (and boredom) of the brief writer having to take care of the formatting details, and save valuable time. 

As an example of another upshot of the issue, here’s a simple quote from a conversation of ours with a partner at a California law firm: “I like to write. I do not like doing the stuff you do.” It’s simply not enjoyable for brief writers to have to take time away from writing to work on the extra work of formatting and electronic requirements. Beyond that, it’s not an effective use of their skill sets: if you’re a remarkable writer, you shouldn’t have to spend any of your time updating your page numbers and keeping track of where you cited authorities. Beyond that, even if you do use a service that can take a draft of your brief and turn it into a ready-to-file brief, one issue is that many processing services require you to resubmit everything for subsequent drafts. Using something like TypeLaw’s editor, however, can save you this headache: it’s a 24/7 service where you can revise and download updated copies of your brief. 

Creating tables and formatting your brief is a chore, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We suggest offloading this stress by using TypeLaw to take on the formatting work, and to stay focused on what you’re good at and love to do: write. 

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