Brief-Writing Tactics That Might Be Worth Avoiding

From Grewal v. Jammu (Cal. Ct. App. Jan. 11):

The opening brief of the Jammu defendants is 72 pages long. Following an abbreviated “Statement of the Case,” the brief spends almost 21 pages on a “summary of facts,” reciting the claimed facts from the Jammu defendants’ perspective only, their “summary of [plaintiff’s] evidence and declarations” consisting of a grand total of 20 lines. Such advocacy is not to be condoned. (See generally Eisenberg et al., Cal. Practice Guide: Civil Appeals and Writs (The Rutter Group 2010) § 9:27, p. 9 8 [“brief should accurately and fairly state the critical facts . . . :”].) Beyond that, the brief is not well organized, and lacks any meaningful or logical argument headings, jumping from arguments referring to “issues of public interest” (Arguments IV and V) to “free exercise of religion” (Argument VI) to “limited public figure” (Argument VII) to “public figure status.” (Arguments VIII, IX, and X.) The brief is, in a word, unhelpful.

The 66-page (!) reply brief is no better, with five arguments (some with multiple subparts) set forth with headings ranging from five lines to 13 lines. Again, not commendable. (See Eisenberg, supra, 9:107, p. 9-31, advising to “keep headings short and concise”.) …

But beyond these deficiencies, the briefs utterly fail to come to grips with the issue here….