Briefly: Sweat the Small Stuff - It Matters

By Haynes Hansen and Eric Magnuson

February 22, 2022

The brief is done. You spent years working up the case, and months thinking through the legal arguments, chasing down every last citation as you wrote the appellate brief. Now it’s done, and all that’s left to do is file it and wait for the court to adopt it wholesale, right? Hold on. Even the best writer’s best work needs editing. After hours of staring at those pages, the details of the citations start to grow into each other, all that carefully coiffed legal argument begins to lose the plot-line, and the typos have grown like weeds — but the writer is too close to it to see the obvious. Yes, no matter how badly you would like that brief just to be done, it needs editing, and it needs to be edited by someone who didn’t write it. Here are some tips for those taking on the less glamorous—but always necessary—work of appellate brief editing.

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Haynes Hansen


Pronouns: he/him

Eric J. Magnuson


Chair, Appellate Practice
Pronouns: he/his

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