The effective use of headings not only organizes the arguments but also assists the reader who loses the thread to get back on track. Briefs are boring. Headings allow a reader who loses concentration and dozes off in the middle of a page to go back and pick up where left off.
Effective headings are usually specific
I. The Unemployment Compensation Appeal Board erred when it granted compensation benefits.
I. The Unemployment Compensation Appeal Board erred by granting compensation benefits to an employee who committed six acts, any one of which would have disqualified him.
Use the word “because”
I. The court should deny counsel fees.
I. The court should deny counsel fees because employer presented medical evidence in three of the four pending petitions, and the penalty petition involved a simple issue of law.
I. This Court’s order does not involve a “controlling question of law.”
I. This Court’s order does not involve a “controlling question of law” because there are alternative bases for federal jurisdiction.
Nest headings and subheadings
Think of headings and subheadings as Russian nesting dolls. Start with a general principle and then create lower and lower levels. As the levels get “smaller” and more detailed, they build backward toward the higher levels.
I. Amalgamated Widgets, Ltd. is subject to personal jurisdiction in Pennsylvania.
A. Amalgamated Widgets, Ltd. does business in Pennsylvania.
B. Amalgamated Widgets, Ltd. is subject to jurisdiction in Pennsylvania through its wholly-owned subsidiary and alter ego, Consolidated Widgets, Inc.
1. This Court should give preclusive effect to the finding of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in a companion case that Amalgamated Widgets, Ltd. is indistinguishable from Consolidated Widgets, Inc.
2. Amalgamated Widgets, Ltd.’s corporate merger activities in Pennsylvania are further evidence that it is indistinguishable from Consolidated Widgets, Inc.
3. Overlapping corporate officers and directors underscore the fact that Consolidated Widgets, Inc. is an alter ego of Amalgamated Widgets, Ltd.