As much as I keep up with appellate issues, some things catch me by surprise. According to this article: “There has long been debate in appellate circles whether reply briefs serve a worthwhile purpose. Some wonder whether justices even read them.”
Really? I’ve never doubted the value of a well-written reply brief, nor have I heard others question their value. Though reply briefs are optional, I can’t imagine I’d ever decide against filing one.
If you’d like to read what some appellate justices have to say about them, check out Are Reply Briefs Really Necessary? The Recorder e-mailed all 103 appellate justices in California for their views on reply briefs and got responses from 25 of them. Reporter Mike McKee’s write-up of their responses describes some pitfalls for appellants’ counsel to avoid and how the justices approach brief reading, among other things.
Hat tip: The Appellate Practitioner.
Coherency, being well-spoken and the ability to write briefs well is vital for any attorney, and even if there is a chance it won’t be read, it is important to include one. On potential further appeals, the brief will surely come in handy.