The Electric Kool-Aid Judgment Test: Making Your Papers Come Alive

Vol. 40 No. 1

Frank Sommers, an associate editor of Litigation, is with Sommers and Schwartz, LLP, San Francisco. Rob Bunzel is with Bartko, Zankel & Bunzel, San Francisco.

Are we all, lawyers and judges both, modern-day Luddites? Although we may not be striding up and down our workplaces with crowbars smiting every workstation or laptop we see, we seem to be rejecting one of the best improvements that information technology offers our profession—the ability to sort rapidly through the huge mounds of paper we generate, in which we routinely drown juries and judges. We’re talking about putting together complex briefs, such as motions for summary judgment, with their exhibits from A to QQQ, using hyperlinks so that a reader (read “judge”) can see what the exhibit looks like without having to paw through two linear feet of paper and tabs.

Relax. We are not asking you to turn into R. Crumb and submit graphic novels in lieu of briefs (see an example at http://bit.ly/17hC39y). We are, however, telling you that you are missing the boat if you don’t “electrify” your briefs by submitting to the court your chambers copy on a compact disc (CD) on which your elegant, Cartesian, linear brief is at least made more accessible by hyperlinking your exhibits to the text. Wouldn’t it be a relief to know that the judge was actually able to see and read that killer cross-exam that you think makes your summary judgment motion a winner? (Or better yet, can click on and watch the video deposition segment itself?)

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