Designing written submissions to ensure impact and ease judges’ reading
Our client, a defendant in a noteworthy litigation case, came to us with a request : transform their counsels’ written submissions in a highly technical litigation to ensure a clear and impactful demonstration of their case. The purpose was to make technical and somewhat tricky digital issues easily accessible to judges, who may not be experts in these fields.
We were involved from the first draft of the written submissions and worked hand in hand with the two renowned law firms representing our client – one specialized in litigation cases and the other in the specific legal field at stake.
Applying user-centricity, we analysed the ways judges approach written submissions. Based on our litigation experience, and user research, it was clear that judges suffer from excessive workload, antisocial working hours, and excessive length of written submissions. “I just can’t read more than 30 pages per party” has become a usual “off-the-record” verbatim.
Before some jurisdictions, there’s even an official limit of number of pages. Thus, our goal was to ease judges’ work by ensuring brevety, giving them “mental oxygen” through cristal-clear information, graphics and overall layouts. We also made the navigation easier between text and supporting exhibits, allowing judges to check evidence more quickly.
An entirely redesigned set of written submissions, with several graphic changes to ease reading and enhance key facts and exhibits. We cannot share the full version but we entirely confidentialized an extract.
We used a clickable Word format, to ensure judges could directly access the relevant exhibits from within the written submissions.
We also used a thread to make sure judges would know how far along they are in their reading, and would easily navigate between the various arguments. Finally, we also made key facts stand out in the layout of the submissions and visualized key complex arguments, to ensure maximum impact.