Hyperlink in Briefs

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Putting Hyperlinks in Brierfs

Courts should require this. Maybe they should drop the required Table of Authorities.

My Question to AppellateTwitter

January 28, 2021 on Twitter:

#appellatetwitter: Has any court started requiring hyperlinks to case cites in briefs? Has any lawyer started putting them in voluntarily, just for the reader's convenience? Is this a bad idea?
Eric [email protected]


The links wouldn't have to be Westlaw or Lexis. Better would be links to free public websites like Google Scholar or the Cornell site "State Courts - by Jurisdiction Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California" law.cornell.edu.
Eric [email protected]


The New York Appellate Division requires it. (Or requires the cases to be compiled as an addendum to the brief, but hyperlinks are easier.)
Sean [email protected]


I used to do it. When our office had Lexis, it was very easy to even include hyperlinks to pin cites. It's harder to do that with Westlaw, but it is possible. I stopped though, because I was told that the Texas Courts system automatically inserts hyperlinks.
Doug [email protected]_dallas


I should add that, while I've stopped linking case cites, I still try to link to an online version of anything else that I cite. This especially useful for historical statutes that may not be on Westlaw but are available in PDF form from the Texas State Law Library
Doug [email protected]_dallas


That's a great idea-- much less work than putting in all the case links, but it hits the cites that the clerk would have the hardest time with. A nice example of we economists' idea of "decreasing marginal benefit": start with the work that has the biggest extra benefit.
Eric [email protected]

Comments from Judges

I did this for my Flynn amicus brief in 2020 with the DC Circuit. There is certainly no rule against it, and I thought it would help readers.

I asked two judges I know, one state, one federal appellate, and both were cool on the idea. The state judge said, too, that he actually likes the Table of Authorities (which I am dubious about) because it gives him a read on what the case is going to be like, rather like professor who starts by skimming the References section of a paper.