The Petition understates the utility of Tables of Citations and overstates the difficulty of preparing them.
The Petition acknowledges that Tables of Citations are a “navigational tool.” (Petition at 2, 7.) The Tables not only direct the readers to the pages on which an authority is cited, they provide the means to observe which authorities are most relied on (or ignored), which authorities are cited by one side and not the other, and which authorities are cited in one place in the brief but not others. Thus, Tables provide a service to all readers – judges, clerks, staff attorneys, and opposing counsel.
Those benefits are not readily available to a reader without a Table of Citations. Searching with the Control/F find function is not helpful because the on-screen reader does not necessarily know what authorities to search for. And readers who prefer to print briefs cannot search electronically.
Although readers could create their own Tables, that task should not be imposed on judges and their staff, or opposing counsel.
Tables are not so difficult to prepare that the minor difficulty outweighs the benefits. Those with Westlaw can use its Drafting Assistant to both prepare the Table and link the authorities. Microsoft Word also has a table-creating function. And there may be other tools this commentator is unaware of.
As to cost, the Petitioners assume that Tables are being created by lawyers at their hourly rates. Not so. Creating a Table is a clerical function for the lawyer’s secretary. Although the lawyer should proof read the Table and compare it to the text, it takes only a few tenths of an hour to do so.
Finally, giving the drafter the option of making a Table is not a good solution. It is my opponent’s Table that I want and need. If Tables are to be optional, the option should be given to the reader. But that is not a better solution because judicial readers cannot exercise the option at the briefing stage.
The Petition should be denied.
Charles W. Wirken, AZ Bar 4276
Gust Rosenfeld, PLC
1 E. Washington St., Suite 1600
Phoenix, AZ 85004 [email protected]