Appellate Briefs 101: Know Your Colors

Posted on 11 May, 2015 at 14:30

The task of writing an appellate brief is a difficult challenge. A good appellate brief blends an exciting and compelling statement of facts with clear and cogent case law that supports your legal argument. This is all done with the ultimate goal of winning your case. However, after you finish writing a great appellate brief, do not forget that the cover each brief has a particular color. 

Most appellate courts require that the briefs submitted to the appellate court have certain assigned colors. For instance, in Massachusetts the appellant's brief must have a blue cover page while the appellee's brief must have a red cover page. SeeMassachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 20 (stating that "[t]he cover of the brief of the appellant shall be blue; that of the appellee, red; that of an intervenor or amicus curiae, green; that of any reply brief, gray.")  In New York, the Fourth Department rule for colors of briefs is as follows: "the cover of a brief of an appellant or petitioner shall be blue; the cover of a brief of a respondent shall be red; the cover of a reply brief shall be gray." 22 NYCRR §1000.4(f)(5).

As you can see, you not only need to know the law and how to write a brief, but you also need to pay attention to all the procedural rules involved in an appeal. One of those appellate procedural rules is that you need to know your colors. 


Written by:   John V. Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (617) 959-1628

Email:           [email protected]


If you have a civil appeal or criminal appeal and would like to speak with an appellate attorney at Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP, contact us at either (646) 942-1798 or (617) 959-1628.


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Categories: Appeals 101