“Distinctive,” “polished,” “conveys a professional image,” were some reasons why attorneys and firms used to add their “brand” to their court-filed papers.
The paper was fancy. And expensive! (Did you even practice law if you never got yelled at in the office for printing a draft on the bond paper instead of copy paper?)
When everything was paper-based, the added marketing flair seemed harmless.
But this is 2021—not 1995. The page-after-page branding is no longer decorative in the world of electronic court filings. Branded pleading pages are nightmare digital zombies.
Unsure of what I’m talking about? I will back up. Here are sample pages from five Michigan Supreme Court filings. The left-margin “branding” is marked in red. Imagine that appearing on every page of the filing.Fullscreen Mode
Sure, the branding remains distinctive and polished. But when a person uses a text-to-speech reader to “read” or “listen” to the brief, that voiced “branding” becomes distracting and grating. Take a listen for yourself. Here’s a video of those same five pages being “read” by a text-to-speech program.
Who uses text-to-speech programs or are interested? Many!
Folks who are pressed for time and prefer the convenience of a listen, those with low vision or dyslexia, and others use text-to-speech readers. And, today, the technology is the best it’s ever been.
Curious for how one of your briefs will sound? Try it!
Just please be kind to yourself and future “audio” readers (think: opposing counsel, judges and justices, law clerks, clients, the media, and the public) and leave the branding off your pleading paper.