Professor Joi Montiel of Jones School of Law has published a great article on how an appellate brief can create an obstacle course for judges. Unlike our brave soldiers, judges dislike obstacles. Your brief should provide judges with a clear pathway to your conclusions. Professor Montiel identifies 10 obstacles (again, these are bad things):
1. A “fat” brief.
2. Ignoring the standard of review.
3. A disorganized brief.
4. A one-sided brief.
5. Failing to apply the law to your facts.
6. Drafting a weak summary of the argument.
7. Thoughtless block quotations.
8. Using the wrong format.
9. Grammar and punctuation errors.
10. Citation errors.
To avoid these obstacles, read her article.