By John M. Fitzgerald, Partner, Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC
Garrett L. Boehm, Jr., Shareholder, Johnson & Bell, Ltd.
On December 9, 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court announced a series of amendments to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules. A full set of those rule amendments can be found here:
A number of those amendments affect appellate practice, principally in the following ways:
1. New word limits for appellate briefs: The Court amended Rules 341 and 367 to provide word limits for appellate briefs. Practitioners are given the alternative of complying with the new word limits or complying with the pre-existing page limits. The word limits are: 15,000 words for the appellant’s brief and the appellee’s brief; 7,000 words for the appellant’s reply brief; an additional 8,400 words for cross-appellants and cross-appellees; an additional 7,000 words for the cross-appellant’s reply brief; 8,000 words for a rehearing petition and an answer to a rehearing petition; and 3,500 words for a reply in support of a rehearing petition. The amendment will be effective January 1, 2016.
The ALA endorsed the adoption of word limits at the Supreme Court Rules Committee’s public hearing in July, based on our members’ widely shared view that word limits, as opposed to page limits, would encourage practitioners to use more reader-friendly formats and fonts. ALA member Alyssa Reiter has been championing this change for a long time and deserves much credit for paving the way for this development.
The proposal that the Supreme Court adopted today was made by the CBA’s Special Committee on Appellate Practice, which is co-chaired by past ALA Presidents Tim Eaton and Mike Rathsack. ALA Rules Committee member Jon Amarilio also was instrumental in the adoption of this proposal.
2. E-mail service: Rule 11 has been amended to mandate the inclusion of an attorney’s email address on his or her appearance and on “all pleadings filed in court,” and otherwise to streamline the rules governing electronic service. The Court also adopted the ALA’s proposed amendments to Rules 306(b), 307(d)(1) and 307(d)(2), which were intended to clarify that service via e-mail is permitted. This amendment will also be effective on January 1, 2016.
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