Words Count: The Empirical Relationship Between Brief Writing and Summary Judgement Success

Legal Writing: Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, Volume 22, Pages 61-108 (2018)

48 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2016 Last revised: 1 May 2018

Shaun B. Spencer

University of Massachusetts School of Law - Dartmouth

Adam Feldman

Columbia University - Law School

Date Written: April 23, 2018

Abstract

Summary judgment motions are critical tools for lawyers trying to resolve cases. This Article is the first to empirically examine whether lawyers are more likely to prevail when they file more readable summary judgment briefs. After controlling for multiple factors internal and extraneous to the briefs, we find that brief readability is significantly correlated to summary judgment success, but that it has a stronger relationship in federal than state courts.

Keywords: Readability, Legal Writing, Summary Judgment, Litigation

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Spencer, Shaun B. and Feldman, Adam, Words Count: The Empirical Relationship Between Brief Writing and Summary Judgement Success (April 23, 2018). Legal Writing: Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, Volume 22, Pages 61-108 (2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2807045 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2807045

Shaun B. Spencer (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts School of Law - Dartmouth ( email )

333 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-1252
United States
508-985-1192 (Phone)

Adam Feldman

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

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