Last Friday, Jeff Skilling filed his appellant’s brief with the Fifth Circuit, which just barely exceeded the 14,000 word limit–by about 46,000 words.

Skilling’s brief clocked in at 58,922 words (and 239 pages), and to be fair, his counsel at O’Melveny & Meyers moved for leave to exceed the word limitation in FRAP 32(a)(7)(B)(i). However, no matter how “extraordinary and compelling” Skilling’s counsel’s reasons may be, part of the art of appellate practice is being able to distill hugely complicated issues down to more manageable and simplified points of error. Counsel at O’Melveny & Meyers probably would have been wise to remember that.

60,000 words

It’s one thing to ask for 100, 500, or maybe even a 1,000 words more, but to ask to quadruple the word limit? At the end of the day, such sloppiness just admits you have no idea what your appeal is really about and attempts to make the circuit judges do your work for you.

Thx to the WSJ Law Blog

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