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Thread: Pleadings

  1. #1
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    When filing an Oregon State Pleading, the formatting rules changed slightly. Now we need a 1" top margin on ALL pages, instead of just the first page. The problem is: Getting the line numbers and the text to match up--not too close to the footer, AND keeping 26 lines. If we go to 25 lines, no problem. But with 26 lines what I'm running up against is that last line of text either "jumps" to the next page, or crowds the footer. The footer has to accomodate the firm information, so it's a "low" as it can go.
    I was wondering what some of you-all out there do with your pleading templates.
    Thanks.
    Charlotte
    Charlotte Quiroz

  2. #2
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    Hi, Charlotte,

    If the last line is jumping to the next page, is it possible you've got Widows/Orphans enabled? (I believe it's enabled by default in Word.)

    I'm at work, so I can't reply at length, but I can provide lots of tips for getting text to align with pleading numbers (I even wrote a separate handout on that topic) -- will try to post a more detailed response later. In the meantime, do you have a sample pleading you can attach here? (Obviously you should strip out names and other confidential information first.) Sometimes it's easier to troubleshoot when I can see an actual document.

    I'm located in California and our formatting requirements are somewhat different from yours, but the basic formatting principles should be the same.

    Jan
    Author, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016,
    Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2010​,
    and Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007

    For Word and WordPerfect tips, visit my blog at http://compusavvy.wordpress.com

  3. #3
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    Incidentally, I'm thinking of compiling a supplement to my book with instructions for setting up pleadings in different states/jurisdictions. (Not sure when I'll find the time, but that's another matter...) Would that be useful to you?

    If so, could you point me to any existing online sites that detail the Oregon state (and/or local) rules for formatting pleadings?

    Many thanks in advance.

    Jan
    Author, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016,
    Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2010​,
    and Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007

    For Word and WordPerfect tips, visit my blog at http://compusavvy.wordpress.com

  4. #4
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    Does the attached sample pleading resemble Oregon pleading paper? I found something online, but I'm not sure how closely it matches the real deal.

    I started out with a California pleading template and then made a few changes. What I did was:

    I went into the header and selected the line numbers, then opened the paragraph dialog and applied Exactly 24 pt spacing to the line numbers. (California uses 28 lines, so I had to delete ##27 and 28.)

    I went into the Page Setup dialog, Layout tab, and made sure the Header distance from edge (i.e., from the top of the paper) is 1" -- since you need a 1" margin on every page -- and set the Footer distance from edge to .25". You might have to play with that setting to accommodate your firm's information. Keep in mind that I'm not aware how small you're allowed to make the font in the footer.

    Also in the Page Setup dialog, on the Margins tab, I left the top margin set at -1" (pleadings in Word use negative margins), but fiddled with the bottom margin and eventually settled on -1.2". That gave me enough space to accommodate the information at the bottom while still making all 26 lines available to type on.

    The exact settings I used might not work for you, but knowing which settings I tweaked could give you some useful ideas.

    Additionally, be sure to check the Paragraph dialog, Line and Page Breaks tab to see if Widow/Orphan control is enabled. If so, try turning it off and see if that solves the problem of text moving from line 26 to the next page.

    Hope this helps. Let us know.

    Jan[attachment=84988:Oregon_p...g_8_2009.doc]
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    Author, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016,
    Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2010​,
    and Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007

    For Word and WordPerfect tips, visit my blog at http://compusavvy.wordpress.com

  5. #5
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    Hi, Char,

    Would be interested in your thoughts, if you've had a chance to see my replies. Just when you get a few free moments...

    Jan
    Author, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016,
    Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2010​,
    and Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007

    For Word and WordPerfect tips, visit my blog at http://compusavvy.wordpress.com

  6. #6
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    I just always let the 26th line go unused if the text won't fit, and let the text wrap to the next page -- aren't these line numbers just for the convenience of all readers involved, anyway, as reference points? California is worse -- I routinely let several lines of numbering dangle for those courts.

    Oh dear, am I breaking the law?

    Lately in our office we're trying to be considerate of the staff on the other end who may have to scan the text, and it can be pretty difficult to scan text that is tight against a line. (Tho current OCR software is getting better at that.) So we use generous margins almost no matter what the court (unless there is a page number limit, then all's fair...)

    Judy, Old Rebel Typist

  7. #7
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    Attached is a sample of our pleading format for the state of Washington. Maybe Oregon is adopting a similar or same general rule from us. Our courts moved to the 1 inch margins a number of years back when they all started scanning in the pleadings. Nothing can appear in that 1 inch margin. Our first page caption must start three inches down so we start ours on line 6 (We don't use a different first page format). We have lines numbered 1 through 26 but only use 22 per page. The line spacing is an exact 23.55. This has worked for us a good long time.
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    Daisy

  8. #8
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    Judy and Daisy,

    Thanks for your replies. I particularly appreciate the Washington state pleading, which will be useful if I find time to put together a supplement to my book with instructions for formatting pleadings for states other than California.

    Of course it's important -- always -- to be considerate of staff members (!). As a legal word processor, I'm also concerned about the possibility that the court might kick a document that isn't formatted according to the rules. After nearly 23 years, I've developed a sense of which rules are somewhat flexible and which ones aren't, but I'd never want to be the person responsible for getting a document kicked, so I tend to err on the side of caution.

    I actually don't find California pleadings that tricky. Typically they're set up so that the pleading line numbers are a fraction, such as 22.75 points (like the Washington State pleading that Daisy attached, which is 23.55 points), and you have to adjust the line spacing of both double-spaced and single-spaced text accordingly. Sometimes people create pleading templates where the line numbers are exactly 24 points apart, which makes it easier to align the text with the line numbers. There aren't hard-and-fast rules about the top or bottom margins, and no requirement that the firm name and address appear in the footer, so that gives us a certain amount of "play."

    In any case, I'm curious to know if my solution for Char was helpful. Hope she resurfaces...

    Meanwhile, your responses were very helpful!

    Jan
    Author, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016,
    Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2010​,
    and Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007

    For Word and WordPerfect tips, visit my blog at http://compusavvy.wordpress.com

  9. #9
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    Jan: I do appreciate your work on this. I got pulled way, way off track on this and honestly have been traveling extensively. Now I'm back to it. I will be working on this the next couple of days. then Ill get back to you.
    Char


    [quote name='janbphd' post='789359' date='17-Aug-2009 17:57']Hi, Char,

    Would be interested in your thoughts, if you've had a chance to see my replies. Just when you get a few free moments...

    Jan[/quote]
    Charlotte Quiroz

  10. #10
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    Judy: In Oregon, if a line is "un-used" there needs to be a symbol such as "/// /// ///" to indicate it was left intentionally.

    [quote name='pingdat' post='789453' date='17-Aug-2009 23:21']I just always let the 26th line go unused if the text won't fit, and let the text wrap to the next page -- aren't these line numbers just for the convenience of all readers involved, anyway, as reference points? California is worse -- I routinely let several lines of numbering dangle for those courts.

    Oh dear, am I breaking the law?

    Lately in our office we're trying to be considerate of the staff on the other end who may have to scan the text, and it can be pretty difficult to scan text that is tight against a line. (Tho current OCR software is getting better at that.) So we use generous margins almost no matter what the court (unless there is a page number limit, then all's fair...)

    Judy, Old Rebel Typist[/quote]
    Charlotte Quiroz

  11. #11
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    Hi, Char,

    Not to worry about the delay. I've been swamped myself lately (which is why I haven't been spending much time in the Lounge in recent weeks).

    When you get some time, I'd be very interested in knowing if the pleading I created meets your needs. Might be able to do more tweaking, but probably not until late November.

    Jan
    Author, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016,
    Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2010​,
    and Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007

    For Word and WordPerfect tips, visit my blog at http://compusavvy.wordpress.com

  12. #12
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    I'm still out here too if you have questions about the Washington pleading template I shared.
    Daisy

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