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HOW IS A BRIEF FORMATTED IN EITHER THE APPELLATE TERM, FIRST DEPARTMENT OR THE APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT?

by | Aug 25, 2022

Whether preparing an appellate brief for the Appellate Division, First Department (AD1) or the Appellate Term, First Department (AT1), the contents of the brief are set in stone. Specifically, regardless of the court, a brief should include the following: “Table of Contents”, “Questions Presented”, “Statement of the Case”, “Statement of Facts” and “Legal Argument”. Briefs being filed in either court may also include an optional “Preliminary Statement” or “Conclusion”. However, that’s where the similarities end — a brief being filed with AD1 must include a “Table of Authorities” and “Printing Specifications Statement” (word count), and an Appellant(s)’ opening brief must also include a “5531 Statement”.

Text formatting requirements are also substantially different between the two courts. Briefs being filed with AD1 must use fonts from the serif family (e.g., Times New Roman, Courier New, etc.), and depending on the chosen font (proportionally spaced vs. monospaced), the font sizes must be either 14-point with 12-point footnotes or 12-point with 10-point footnotes, respectively. AT1, on the other hand, does not have any font requirements and any font type or size may be used so long as the text is legible. There are also differences in how emphasis may be shown as AD1 briefs are not permitted to include bold or all-caps.

However, when formatting paragraph spacing, both courts require that briefs be double-spaced with the exception of headings, indented quotes and footnotes, which may be single-spaced.

The last set of formatting requirements are specific to the word/page limits of briefs. Opening briefs being filed with AD1 are limited to 14,000 words, whereas AT1 opening briefs cannot exceed 50 pages. Reply briefs being filed in AD1 are limited to 7,000 words and AT1 reply briefs are limited to 20 pages.

Lastly, when printing hardcopies of briefs in either court, the following guidelines apply: briefs should be printed on 8.5” x 11” paper with 1” margins on all sides, pages must be sequentially numbered, and briefs must be bound on the left side with a brief cover.

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