Special Considerations to be Cognizant of when Preparing your Brief for Reading on a Tablet Device
Attorneys and businesses are increasingly turning to tablet devices to prepare, edit and review documents. Judges, at the both the federal and state level, are no different. Accordingly, it is important to format your brief and your electronic file to accommodate this reality. You want to make it as easy as possible to review and navigate your brief for the reader.
Consider that navigating a document on a tablet device is much different from reading a paper brief. A full page will not always be formatted to fit the screen of the device as the reader may zoom into a section of the page and scroll down the page as they read it. Adding footnotes will require the reader to scroll down to read the footnote and then scroll back up to pick up where they left off. Accordingly, footnotes should be avoided, if possible, to minimize distractions while the reader reviews your brief.
Another complication when viewing a brief on a tablet is navigating between pages. In order to simplify this process, avoid excessive use of endnotes and acronyms which may necessitate reference to a table of acronyms. You will avoid frustrating the reader and maintain continuity for them as they review your brief.
I’ve covered some of the difficulties in reading a brief on a tablet device but there are also many advantages. Portability is obviously an advantage since you can load large briefs, and multiple briefs, on a device without adding weight and bulk. There are also many electronic features which you can add to help off-set the physical limitations of reading a brief on a tablet. For example, add bookmarks to assist the reader in navigating back and forth within a brief. Bookmarks are headings in a navigation panel and they allow the reader to jump directly to the heading in the PDF.
Furthermore, running OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, on a brief allows the reader to search for specific words or characters within a brief. In fact, this may even be a requirement for the court in which you are filing so you should check your local court rules.
If you are unsure whether your brief or appellate filing is compliant with the court rules then contact AppealTech to take full advantage of our expert staff of appellate counsel and paralegals. We can help format your brief and record to maximize the impact for the justices.
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