Bullet Points

Bullets are underused in legal writing. They very effectively organize a page visually and focus a reader’s attention on a group of points. Bullets can be a powerful tool in organizing an argument and impressing the organization upon your reader. Please keep this in mind:

  • Introduce a series of bullets with a sentence followed by a colon.
  • Either make each bullet a sentence (or longer), with an initial capital and a period at the end, or start each with a lowercase letter and end with a semicolon.
  • Keep your bulleted items grammatically parallel.
  • In a brief, indent bullets from the left margin and give the text following them a hanging indent (i.e., if it wraps to a new line that line should start under the first character of the first line, not under the bullet or at the left margin).

A short, powerful bulleted list can be particularly effective at the start of a brief, where you are enumerating the several reasons that you should be granted the relief you seek. Try it out and see if it makes the brief more powerful.

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