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How to create your own Pleading Paper template, Part 1

Pleading Paper template for a county that doesn’t exist

I’ve gotten a fair number of questions from readers about how to format pleadings with line numbers down the left, commonly known as Pleading Paper. Typically, they sound something like this:

“My text never quite lines up exactly with the numbers on the pleading paper. What’s the trick??”

“PLEASE work on the pleadings template! I’m sure I and many others would pay bonuses for your guidance.”

“Pleading paper instructions would be fantastic! I mostly work in California state and federal courts, and our office just reuses old documents to keep the pleading paper formatting. Unfortunately this brings along a host of other formatting issues, and while I’d love to be able to start from scratch I don’t know how. Any help you could give would be terrific, thank you!!”

“I am not sure of the technical name for it, but years ago law firms had stationery with double lines on left side of a page and one line on the right. I know Word can duplicate it, but I don’t how to add them or what it is called. I will try the [pleading paper] template, but is there a way to remove the page numbering on the side?”

“I wish WORD was like WordPerfect in that we could just add the pleading format into the document after the document is completed. Anyway, if you could help me figure this out it would be great. I recently added [a plug-in] to Word/Office which provides a host of automated functions, like cite checking, quote check, and table of authorities, which would make finalizing a brief a breeze. However, if I can’t get out of the WordPerfect format for my brief writing, I don’t see where all these extra functions will benefit me.”

Okay, okay, I get it, I get it! Clearly, my standard reply (which I used so often that I actually created an entry in Quick Parts in Outlook for it) isn’t getting the job done. So, while I would love to create a custom template (like I did for that last person above) for each and every one of you, there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

So, in lieu of becoming a template factory, I’m going to show you how to make some common adjustments to those musty old Microsoft templates (either the 25-line one or the 28-line one) all by yourself. And if you don’t see your particular question addressed in this series, by all means leave it in the comments at the bottom, and I’ll add the answer.


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by Deborah Savadra

I spend an inordinate amount of my time playing with computers and attempting to explain technology to lawyers and law office staff. It's not always easy, but someone's got to do it.

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