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How To Write a Reply Brief


Background: Your civil opponent's answer brief has muddied your opening brief
Problem: You want to write a reply brief, but you don't know how
Solution: You follow this guide for writing an effective reply brief

I. Definitions

Brief
"a written argument concentrating upon legal points and authorities (ie, precedents) used by the lawyer to convey to the court (trial or appellate) the essential facts of his or her client's case, a statement of the questions of law involved, the law that should be applied and the application that he or she desires made of that law by the court. The brief is submitted in connection with an application, motion, trial or appeal.""
Reply
"a defensive pleading by one who has made a complaint; the sole purpose of reply is to interpose a defense to new matter pleaded in the answer. In modern practice a reply is an extraordinary pleading and is not permitted except to respond to a counterclaim or by leave of court to an answer or third-party answer."

II. Legal Citations

Rule 31 Fed. R. App. P. | Serving and Filing Briefs
(a) Time to Serve and File a Brief.
(1) The appellant must serve and file a brief within 40 days after the record is filed. The appellee must serve and file a brief within 30 days after the appellant’s brief is served. The appellant may serve and file a reply brief within 14 days after service of the appellee’s brief but a reply brief must be filed at least 7 days before argument, unless the court, for good cause, allows a later filing.
Rule 28(c) Fed. R. App. P. | Reply Brief
(c) Reply Brief. The appellant may file a brief in reply to the appellee’s brief. Unless the court permits, no further briefs may be filed. A reply brief must contain a table of contents, with page references, and a table of authorities — cases (alphabetically arranged), statutes, and other authorities — with references to the pages of the reply brief where they are cited.
Rule 28-1 11th. Cir. R. | Briefs - Content
Each principal brief shall consist, in the order listed, of the following:
(a) Cover Page....
(b) Certificate of Interested Persons and Corporate Disclosure Statement...
(d) Table of Contents...
(e) Table of Citations...
(k) Argument and Citations of Authority...
(m) Certificate of Compliance...
(n) Certificate of Service...
Rule 28-3 11th. Cir. R. | Reply Brief
A reply brief need contain only items (a), (b), (d), (e), (k), (m) and (n) of 11th Cir. R. 28-1.
Rule 31-1 11th. Cir. R. | Briefs - Time for Serving and Filing
(a) Briefing Schedule. Except as otherwise provided herein, the appellant shall serve and file a brief within 40 days after the date on which the record is deemed filed as provided by 11th Cir. R. 12-1. The appellee shall serve and file a brief within 30 days after service of the brief of the last appellant. The appellant may serve and file a reply brief within 21 days after service of the brief of the last appellee.

III. Samples

US Circuit Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit (USCA11)
# PDF Comments
101logoAdobe± Pending | 22-13613 | TBD case. Pro Se Filing | USFLND | §1983 Case; Perjury from a Judge; Judicial Immunity; Due ProcessiconPriceTag
Florida's Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH)
#PDFComments
201logoAdobe2019 | Pro Se Filing | hou; Filing DateiconPriceTag
202logoAdobe2018 | Attorney Filing | Rules Challenge; School Board; Void/InvalidiconPriceTag
203logoAdobe2017 | Pro Se Filing | eee; Disparate Impact; School Board; Title VIIiconPriceTag
204logoAdobe2016 | Pro Se Filing | pub; Clear Error; Sanctions; Competent Substantial EvidenceiconPriceTag
205logoAdobe2015 | Attorney Filing | Rebuttal to Answer Brief; Harmless Error; Miscarriage of JusticeiconPriceTag
206logoAdobe2014 | Attorney Filing | eee; Prima Facie Evidence; Intent; Hearsay; Reasonable AccommodationiconPriceTag
207logoAdobe2013 | Attorney Filing | Unconstitutional Law; Art. III §10 FL Constitution; Notice RequirementiconPriceTag
208logoAdobe2012 | Pro Se Filing | Third-Party Defenses; Hearsay; Public Record; Purchased PropertyiconPriceTag
209logoAdobe2011 | Attorney Filing | Intervenor | Law of the Case; Res Judicata; Tipsy Coachman DoctrineiconPriceTag

IV. Templates

# Link Comments
1iconMSWordCA11 Version | Replace all placeholder tags (eg "[plfName]" becomes "John Doe").iconPriceTag

V. Quick Commentary

  • Due Date (14 days vs XX days): Follow your Circuit Court's filing schedule (some Circuits mandate different time windows).

    For example: the 11th Circuit gives 21 days (instead of 14):
    (a) Briefing Schedule. Except as otherwise provided herein, the appellant shall serve and file a brief within 40 days after the date on which the record is deemed filed as provided by 11th Cir. R. 12-1. The appellee shall serve and file a brief within 30 days after service of the brief of the last appellant. The appellant may serve and file a reply brief within 21 days after service of the brief of the last appellee.
  • Re-Read your Opening Brief [Before reading your Opponent's Answer Brief]
    • Action Steps:
      1. Re-read your Opening Brief shortly before reading the Answer Brief
      2. Write down the points/issues-on-appeal
    • Benefits:
      • This will help refresh your memory [as to what the issues-on-appeal are]
      • This will help you identify/combat the false/immaterial statements in your opponent's answer brief
  • Take Notes [on your Opponent's Answer Brief]
    • Action Steps:
      1. Annotate the Answer Brief
      2. Mark the true statements/concessions [from the Answer Brief]
      3. Mark the false statements [from the Answer Brief]
      4. Mark the immaterial statements [from the Answer Brief]
    • Benefits:
      • This will help you plan/write your Reply Brief
  • Quote the Answer Brief
    • Action Steps:
      1. Copy & Paste passages from the answer brief
    • Benefits:
      • Using direct quotes will help your Reply Brief attack your opponent's falsehoods/etc
  • Read all Citations
    • Action Steps:
      1. Copy & Paste all of the cited opinions/statutes that are in your opponent's Answer Brief
      2. Google the cited opinions
        • alternatively, you can use other search engines (eg, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yandex, etc.)
        • note: in TBD's experience, other search engines (ie, DuckDuckGo in particular) produce results that Google [sometimes] misses
    • Benefits:
      • Reading the opinions will likely reveal fallacies in your opponent's arguments
        • For instance: your opponent might have misrepresented what an appellate opinion actually rendered
        • For instance: your opponent might have cited an opinion that is no longer viable (ie, overruled by subsequent decisions)
        • For instance: your opponent might have cited an opinion that actually favors your points
  • Do Not Raise New Issues
    • Action Steps:
      1. Know that - according to the appellate courts - superior courts can only entertain arguments that were previously raised (ie, in the trial court objection; and/or in the opening brief)
      2. Nonetheless, if you need to raise a new issue, then file a Motion for Leave to File a Supplemental Opening Brief
    • Benefits:
      • This will help you keep your reply brief as short as possible
  • Highlight the Points which your Opponent Conceded
    • Action Steps:
      1. Identify the points that your opponent explicitly conceded
      2. Identify the points that your opponent implicitly conceded
          (ie, via dodging/avoiding the issue)
    • Benefits:
      • This will help you keep your reply brief as short as possible
      • This will give you an opportunity to reinforce the indisputability of your appeal
  • Proper Structure (Circuit): Compose your reply brief the way your Court of Appeals prescribes.

    Here's an example (Rule 28-3 11th Cir. R.):
    1. Cover Page
    2. CIP
    3. Table of Contents
    4. Table of Citations
    5. Argument and Citations of Authority
    6. Certificate of Compliance
    7. Certificate of Service
  • Proper Structure (Nationwide): Alternatively (ie, see above bullet point), compose your reply brief the way the Rules of Appellate Procedure prescribe
    1. Table of Contents
    2. Table of Authorities

VI. Additional Resources

VII. Conclusion

Use the templates and samples to write an effective Reply Brief in your Court of Appeals.

...POINTS & THINGS...

Congratulations! You're now booked up on how to write a Reply Brief in your Court of Appeals!

Please get the justice you deserve.

Sincerely,



www.TextBookDiscrimination.com
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