The Written and Unwritten Rules of Filing Appellate Briefs in the NYS Appellate Division – First & Second Departments
For the most part, in the First and Second Departments the content, formatting and guidelines for all briefs are identical.
However, there are a few requirements and rules that differ from one Court to the next.
For instance, the requirements regarding typeface, point size, spacing and margins are exactly the same: Times New Roman
(other fonts are accepted) 14 point font, 12 point footnotes, double spaced with one inch margins is standard for both
the First and Second Departments.
Text within the body of the brief may not be in boldface or all caps. For emphasis, the Court allows any text to be italicized or underlined only
(though not excessively). However, you may use all caps only if the text you are referring to was filed in all caps in the lower Court.
Also, you may use all caps in any headings or sub-headings. Bullet points are acceptable in the Second Department, but not in the First. The most
common alternative is to use dashes, which the First Department will accept.
A table of contents and a table of authorities is required in both the First and Second Departments.
In both the First and Second Departments; the word count for all appellants, and respondents, briefs is 14,000 words. When filing a reply brief
the word limit is 7,000. In order to file an oversized brief, the Court requires a copy of the brief prior to filing along with a letter application
seeking the Court’s permission.
A compliance document must be included as the last page of the brief. The First Department and Second Department ask that the document have the
title “Printing Specifications Statement,” containing the processing system, typeface, point size and word count
(pursuant to CPLR 600.10(d)(1)(v)). Neither the First nor the Second Department requires this document to contain a signature.
When filing a non-NYSCEF Brief filed in the Second Department, you must nevertheless convert the brief to an e-brief and upload same to the
Second Department web portal. An e-brief must contain electronic bookmarks to the table of authorities, including case law,
statutes and any other references found therein. The First Department requires an e-brief for NYSCEF cases only.
There are multiple departments at PHP that review each brief with a fine tooth comb to ensure compliance with the aforementioned
requirements. We pride ourselves on protecting our clients and dealing with any potential issues prior to serving and
filing their brief in Court.