This site was designed to promote the use of hyperlinks by attorneys practicing in federal courts. Incorporating hyperlinks into briefs and other papers filed in the CM/ECF system promotes efficiency and better advocacy.
“When I pull up a memo with links, I have three immediate impressions:
• This attorney knows how I work;
• This is going to be easy;
• I hope other attorneys notice this.”
— Hon. David Nuffer, United States District Judge, D. Utah
“I find hyperlinks to be a very convenient way to check case citations, read pin-point case cites, and view attachments without having to open a new window or toggle between screens. I hope lawyers make greater use of this capability in federal court filings in the future.”
— Hon. John W. Lungstrum, Senior United States District Court Judge, D. Kan.
In the internet research world, hyperlinks are a standard way of “drilling down” for more detail or specific information. Just as all web pages contain links to other pages, cases downloaded from legal research services such as Westlaw, Lexis and other vendors contain links to the cases, statutes, articles, or other sources cited within the opinion. The links allow immediate access by the reader to these referenced materials.
Attorneys can include links to cited law, attachments, and other CM/ECF filings in their briefs filed in CM/ECF, adding another level of persuasion to their writing. Hyperlinks in briefs and other court filings provide quick, easy, and pinpoint access to particular sections of a case, or to specific filings in the court’s record. The attorney can thereby highlight the precise issue presented, and the specific evidence and controlling or persuasive law the court should consider.
Hyperlinks in court filings are very beneficial for court chambers. Court submissions which include links to relevant case law and case filings are easy for chambers staff to review. The attorneys’ arguments can be immediately verified in the context of the relevant law. The judge or judicial clerk is able to read the text of the cited case law on one screen while reading the attorney’s brief on the other. And if a brief contains links to referenced exhibits, and even to specific pages within those exhibits, the judge or judicial clerk can access the relevant evidence without having to navigate through the CM/ECF record. Particularly when dealing with large and complex cases, links save chambers considerable time and effort. Links make it easy for the court to verify – and adopt – the positions taken by an advocate
We welcome any insights or comments you might have on this topic as we attempt to spread the word about hyperlinking and its use in federal court.