Starting December 1, lawyers filing briefs with the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the state’s 14 intermediate appellate courts must contend with a new rule that limits the filings by the number of words. Apparently, too much "chicanery" by Texas lawyers who played games with fonts and white space prompted the courts to do away with the previous type of restriction, which was page-based. The Tex Parte blog reports that the word count limit varies depending on the type of filing (4,500 words for a petition and response to the Supreme Court and CCA; 2,400 words for a reply to a response to the Supreme Court and CCA; 15,000 words for a brief and response in an appellate court; and so on). Sections such as the index and the table of contents do not count toward the word limitations. Lawyers must include a certificate of compliance with each filing stating its word count but, thankfully, are permitted to rely upon "the word count of the computer program used to prepare the document." Kendall Gray of the law firm Andrews Kurth writes that since 1997, when revised Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure came into effect with...

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