How To Create a Powerful Legal Brief

Attorneys at firms big and small all have one thing in common: the legal brief. Legal briefs are a fact of life for lawyers, but many often take it for granted. However, a legal brief is one of the most important court documents in any case and crafting one is a finely honed skill. Keep reading for tips on how to create a compelling legal brief.

Legal Brief Basics

A legal brief is the summation of weeks and often years of evidence and testimony into a concise, accurate document. All briefs must include the following:

  • Detailed accounts
  • Descriptions and identifiers of all parties involved
  • The status of the litigation
  • The legal issue addressed in the case
  • The rule of law applied
  • The attorney’s argument
  • A strong conclusion

Each of the details listed above are crucial to the strength of the brief. Briefs are made for court officials and other legal professionals, so tone and format are crucial. An equally important part of any legal brief is the aesthetics.

The Aesthetics of a Legal Brief

Legal briefs are a crucial part of any case, but the unsung hero is the aesthetic of the brief itself. In most cases, conversations around aesthetics are left to the artists and creatives of the world, but creating a cohesive aesthetic is just as important for attorneys as it is for designers.

The goal of any legal brief is to draft a compelling argument that sums up the total of a case from arrest to trial. Briefs are long, detailed, documents full of legalese but even for the most astute and experienced legal professional, briefs can feel dense. The best way to fix this is with aesthetics.

An aesthetic is literally a fostering or appreciate of beauty. In a business or professional sense, aesthetics are the tools that create a cohesive flow to information and engage the reader. For lawyers, the court is sometimes like theater. Every actor has their part to play, and attorneys are the stars of opening and closing arguments. However, their time to shine does not have to be cut short – a legal brief can be an opportunity to persuade as well.

Incorporating Aesthetics into a Legal Brief

Despite warning to the contrary, people generally do judge a book by its cover. To make your brief stand out, it is important to incorporate aesthetics and design elements to ensure that your message is understood clearly.

Before offering tips for creating a better brief, it is important to note that using creativity does NOT mean changing the basic formatting of your brief. Always check with the court clerk to verify the formatting requirements for a brief and stick to them.

Here are three simple ways to improve your brief:

  1. Use white space. White space gives the eye a break and can help emphasize important sections. For the reader, blocks of text are difficult to focus on, so it is always best to utilize white space and improve the legibility and impact of your brief. You can do this by adding headings, charts, graphics, or point headings.
  2. Beware orphans and widows. In typesetting and graphic design, orphans and widows are terms that refer to lines of text or single words that hang outside of the main body at the top or bottom of the page. These line interruptions break up the flow in an abrupt way and can disrupt the flow of one page into another.
  3. Font furthers flow. As innocuous as it may seem, font can have a significant impact on the readability of your brief. Choosing the right font can set your brief apart in a subtle way that does not distract from the content. It is also important to remember that some briefs may be submitted digitally and must be readable on screens of any size. Automated fonts are fine, but using Times New Roman, Century, or Georgia can give your brief an extra eye-catching boost.

Bonus Tip

In addition to using white space, keeping typography rules in mind, and using the right fonts, the presentation of the final project is of equal importance. Whether you are printing out the brief or submitting it digitally, quality matters.

For digital submissions, you must have a high-resolution document that adapts to different systems and devices. In some cases, a high-res PDF may be the best option for submission and review. Never compromise quality when working digitally – going the extra mile will always pay off.

For physical submissions, printing on quality paper, with good ink, and seamless design can immediately capture the attention of the reader. Use professional printing services to brand, print, and bind legal briefs.

Never sacrifice quality and instead choose Acro Photo Print, Inc. for all your legal printing and publishing needs.