Monday, December 3, 2007

Supreme Court tightens up on documents

Enough of that squished-together Times New Roman typeface already.

That’s one possible reading of the thinking of the Supreme Court of Virginia in amending its rules on “Forms of Briefs and Other Papers.”

Or it may be that they just want to read less.

The practical effect of the amendments, which will take effect Feb. 1, is that lawyers will be able to write only five-sixths as much in most instances—and substantially less than that if they had been writing their briefs in Times New Roman.

Rule 5:6 requires the submission of briefs in 14-point type, rather than 12-point type, and limits the fonts lawyers can use to Courier, Arial and Verdana. The page limits remain the same. The amount of space available for petitions for rehearing, now 7,500 words, is reduced to 3,000 words.

The attorneys have to file fewer copies of briefs, 12 rather than 20, but they also must file an electronic copy on a disc or by e-mail. Documents in Word format are preferred, but those in Word Perfect or PDF format are acceptable.

The court also wants to know more about the attorneys. The amendments require them to include name, Virginia State Bar number, telephone number, facsimile number and e-mail address on the front covers of their briefs

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