Electronic briefs (e-Briefs) made their first appearance on the legal stage in the 1990s, but today’s e-briefs are far ahead of their predecessors in terms of technology and usability.
E-briefs are electronic versions of ordinary paper-based court filings. But instead of providing lengthy, thick and repetitive appendices and materials at the end of the brief, a lawyer filing an e-brief simply inserts hyperlinks to attachments from the main document.
This has many advantages, and surely at least one of these advantages changes everything you ever knew about ebriefs.
- You Can Use Photos and Movies! E-Briefs permit the reader to jump seamlessly from the main text to the appendix (which could be a case decision, a document, a graphic trial exhibit, or the like), and then back. No more ruffling and shuffling through hundreds of pages. With photos, video, animation stills, demonstratives and technical diagrams already making their way into traditional briefs, ebriefs have the potential to become a multimedia extravaganza with the inclusion of animation, video evidence and links to websites. Case in point, the stir caused by Mark Cuban's lawyers who filed a 4-page summary judgment motion with a now famous photo on page two (see below). An e-Brief of the future might present the same information, but with the added emphasis of an announcer screaming enthusiastically about the team's triumph. It appears the days of black and white briefs will soon go the way of black and white televisions.
2011-06-22 WC Mavs and Radical Mavs Mngt MSJ
- E-briefs are Green. E-briefs clearly save paper and help the environment and the planet. Court filings produced in paper form amount to hundreds, if not thousands, of pages. Multiply that by the number of copies that are produced for opposing counsel, co-counsel, judges, clerks, clients, and so on – and it’s clear that e-briefs save massive amounts of paper. Courts are beginning to recognize this issue.
- E-Briefs are Now on the iPad. E-briefs are becoming portable in a way that they never were before. At A2L Consulting, we just produced and delivered what we think is the first e-brief specifically designed to be used on the iPad. Until now, e-briefs were designed only to work on laptop and desktop computers and to use a DVD or USB flash drive. Now, judges, clerks, and counsel can open their iPads and read the latest briefs, complete with attachments. This new kind of iPad compatible e-brief came about after a large company had an important legal document to file in a case, and their lawyers wanted to make the information accessible on an iPad for a judge who used one. After a national search, the law firm found that A2L Consulting was the only trial consulting company that was able to produce such a document.
- E-Briefs Can Overwhelm Your Adversary. It can be strategically helpful to a law firm and its client if the firm proposes the use of e-briefs to reduce the use of paper. Earlier this year, our firm produced what is believed to be the largest e-brief in history. Many law firms are not accustomed to e-briefs, and if they agree to file them, they may find themselves caught up in the technology rather than focusing on their legal arguments. That large e-brief with more than 60,000 hyperlinks required a team of dozens to produce. Few law firms and clients can afford the time and effort required to complete such a project over a few days. Firms and consultants that know the e-brief world will enjoy a competitive advantage.