I was puzzled the first time I saw opposing counsel attach a formal word-count certificate to a very simple one-page letter to a court. No word limits apply to those letters. (Don’t get any ideas!) So, why would that be required?

His reasoning was that the governing rule was a little unclear about what was required. At that time, it said “A computer-generated document must include a certificate … stating the number of words…” So, thinking like a good appellate lawyer, my opposing counsel included a certificate on all filed documents as a matter of course.

This week, the Texas Supreme Court has clarified the rule. Its short set of amendments to the word count rules now specifies that only those documents that are actually “subject to a word limit” need attach a certificate of compliance.