The Volokh Conspiracy

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Line Numbering in Trial-Court Pleadings and Motions


Many trial courts expect line numbers in pleadings and motions to appear on the left. Since the text is double-spaced, the line numbers are generally likewise double-spaced.

But in my experience, it has been hard to keep the line numbers (entered through a special text box on the right-hand margin, for instance) aligned with the text, especially when some parts of the text (such as headings and block quotes) are single-spaced. I understand that courts don't mind that the single-spaced text itself doesn't match the double-spaced numbers, but often the single-spacing throws off the alignment of double-spaced text later on the page. One can fix this by hand-tweaking the spacing after the single-spaced text, but that's a pain, and can get thrown off when changes are made.

Word, to be sure, has its own line numbering feature, under Layout / Line Numbers, and that yields double-spaced numbers for double-spaced text and single-spaced numbers for single-based text. I think that actually makes the most sense—but it's different from what I've seen to be the norm, and I know many lawyers are reluctant to do something like that.

Any suggestions on the best way to deal with this? If so, please let me know.