By: Kelly R. Ledbetter
On September 24, 2012, Alexis F. Steinberg presented a lecture about tables of authorities, tables of contents, hyperlinks, and other formatting and technology topics during the Law Practice Management Section meeting of the Collin County Bar Association in Plano, Texas.
Understanding formatting methodology in both Microsoft Word and Word Perfect is significant for lawyers primarily because it is in the lawyers’ best interest for any reader quickly to understand and appreciate both the legal arguments and the references to legal authorities.
Steinberg taught that automatically updating a table of authorities (a table of contents comprised of legal sources) will save lawyers and readers a lot of time. Rather than manually updating the table of authorities for an appellate brief–which can easily exceed a hundred pages and scores of sources–lawyers and legal staff should learn to make their technology work for them.
Saving time in the office means saving the client money. Hiring a technologically knowledgeable lawyer is a financially advisable decision. Judges also find briefs whose supporting documents are easy to navigate to be more persuasive, which is good news for favorable judgments.
Particularly stressing that Word Perfect as a word processing platform affords flexibility and control for more than documents written just for appeals, Steinberg demonstrated multiple opportunities to increase the readability of legal documents by inserting internal links as well as hyperlinks.
During the Q&A following her lecture, Steinberg explained that many appeals courts and, increasingly, district courts are welcoming if not requesting documents involving hyperlinked references to authorities.
Why is formatting so important? It helps Mosser Law PLLC present information in the easiest, most streamlined, and technologically practical manner for the benefit of its clients.