Paragraph Headings for Briefs and Contracts

Judge Andrew J. Guilford decries as outdated the often-seen system of using a traditional outline style with Roman Numerals.  He makes the obvious point that, when you are in the middle of a document with the traditional outline style, it’s hard to figure out how what you are reading ties in with the rest of the document.  I wholeheartedly agree and have long avoided the traditional style in favor of something similar to what the judge calls for.

For example, in a real estate purchase and sale agreement, the style I use looks like this:

1.  Identification of the Parties.

1.01.  The Seller is John Doe, whose address is 123 Main Street, River City, Texas 77777

1.02.  The Buyer is Richard Roe, whose address is 456 Broadway, River City, Texas 77778.

2.  Identification of Property.  The Property is Lot 1, Block 3, Hypothetical Subdivision, an addition to the City of River City, Texas, a plat of which is recorded at . . .

3.  Price.  The Price is . . .


That way, when you are deep in the contract at 11.02.07, you can easily figure out how this section relates to the contract as a whole.  It is in my view, far superior to traditional outlining.  Not only that, but in my locale at least, most experienced transactional lawyers use some similar system.  I’m surprised at the reservations in the linked article about whether others would find this system acceptable.




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