Perfect Binding Your Appellate Documents

"Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book from a number of folded or unfolded sheets of paper or other material. It usually involves attaching a book cover to the resulting text-block."1

When filing an appellate brief, it’s not just "sheets of paper" that you are submitting to the clerk of the court – it’s your countless hours of legal research put into perfecting your argument and crafting your brief into compliance with all appellate, clerk and local rules. There is good reason why the court requires specific font (size and type), particular margins and certificates of word counts. Your brief is going to be read and it must be bound so as to withstand the heavy use it will encounter throughout the appeal process. The last thing any attorney should want to do is submit a filing that will diminish or undermine the overall presentation of the appeal with briefs that are inappropriately bound. There are several options available and it’s important to understand the difference in more than just pricing and convenience.

VeloBind® is quite popular and although it's intended to be permanent, the binding can be removed and, often times, it inadvertently is. According to Joseph Lane, California Court of Appeal, Second District Clerk, "The Second District’s main use for its internal VeloBind® machine is to repair broken bindings."2

Plastic comb binding is another alternative, but can you imagine a justice or law clerk reading your brief only to be burdened with loosened pages? It would be wise to save plastic comb binding for printed PowerPoint presentations or some other non-court-related matter.

Tape binding is described by print shops and copy centers as "perfect-like" binding. It provides not only strength and durability, but also a clean, professional look to your briefs. Although effective (and accepted by the court), the problem with tape binding is that it uses an external component to bind the book – in this case, black tape. Tape binding mimics the method of perfect binding and brings with it the possibility that the tape could come undone. Another disadvantage is that the color of the tape will not be consistent with the correct cover color of your filing.

Perfect binding virtually eliminates the chance of anything coming undone and the only real way to loosen a page is to literally rip it out. It’s safe to say that no one who handles your briefs will intentionally seek to do so. Unlike any of the other bookbinding processes, it’s the only one which actually binds the book together in and of itself. Once the brief is printed, the pages are jogged (bringing the edges into line) and then notched along the spine with a blade. These cuts allow the glue to best penetrate the pages so they become “one unit” with the cover.

The strength, durability, appearance and overall professionalism of perfect-bound books are what make it the most common method used for bookbinding (i.e., catalogues, telephone books, etc.).

Here, at Counsel Press, we use state-of-the-art perfect binders and printers to ensure that our clients' briefs, appendices, records, motions, petitions and exhibits are of superior quality and presentation.

Click here to read one of our clients’ testimonials about the value of an outstanding presentation when filing an appeal.

1 Bookbinding – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2 "Appendixes, Exhibits, and E-Briefs in the Court of Appeal," by Joseph Lane, Laura Griffin and Robin Meadow.

Tagged: Appellate Services, Production & Support, Court Technology