The Complex Filing Rules for the Supreme Court

If you want to file a brief with the Supreme Court, your brief will need to follow a set of specific guidelines detailed in Supreme Court Rule 33.1. If it doesn’t, the brief will be rejected and your case most likely won’t be heard—a critical mistake for a matter important enough to be presented to the nation’s highest legal authority. Since many lower courts, such as Circuit, state, and county-level courts also follow the same, if not similar formatting requirements, it’s important for anyone looking to create a legal brief to know the guidelines and follow them closely. Let’s look at these guidelines in more detail.

Paper Size & Quality

Briefs must be filed in booklet form, meaning simply stapling a few pieces together is highly unacceptable. The paper used must be opaque (solid-colored and not see-through), white, unglazed, at least 60 pounds in weight, and measure exactly 6 1/8 inches by 9 1/4 inches. Each page must have a margin of at least ¾ of an inch on each side. This means that the text field on each page, including all footnotes should be approximately 4 1/8 inches by 7 1/8 inches. Each booklet must also have a cover composed of 65-weight paper.


Each brief must be prepared using a standard typesetting process in order to produce typographic characters. Documents produced on a typewriter, thus including typewriter characters, are not acceptable to the court. Computer word processing programs are usually the most acceptable method for creating these types of documents. When using a computer, be sure to set the leading amount so it’s at least two points to ensure enough line spacing. The font used must be from the Century family, such as Century Expanded, New Century Schoolbook, or Century Schoolbook. The font must be 12-point with the appropriate amount of leading between lines. Footnotes must be in 10-point font, also with two points of leading.

The printing quality must match or exceed that of a laser printer, so it’s strongly advised you either use a laser printer or have a professional print your brief. Inkjet printers are generally not advised due to their ability to distort and splatter.


A booklet-format brief must be bound in at least two places along the left margin. The court prefers saddle stitching or perfect binding formats. However, the court also does consider staples to be an acceptable form of binding, provided there are at least two along the left margin that are covered with tape. The court will not accept any booklets bound with spiral, plastic, metal, or string bindings.

If you need to have your court brief checked for formatting compliance, printed, and bound in a way that will be accepted, trust the experienced and knowledgeable guidance of Acro Photo Print, Inc. For more than 40 years, we have served New York City and provided exceptional duplication and printing services. Our president, Steve Bianco, founded our company in 1976 and to this day still oversees each job personally to make sure we never stray from our dedication and approach to quality.

Call Acro Photo Print, Inc. today at 929.244.4322 to find out more about the great services we offer for those in the legal industry!