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Be a hyperlinking hero! Make hyperlinking tables of authorities better

For summer and articling students, and many young lawyers, one of the least pleasant tasks is compiling a Table of Authorities — which is unfortunate because it’s also one of the main tasks they have to do during their litigation rotation. And I would know, having been a summer student with a boutique and a full-service law firm, where this particular assignment popped up all the time. The problem with hyperlinking a Table of Authorities is that it takes forever, and doesn’t have a lot to do with the substance of the argument that’s been written.

Why do we even have to do it?

Because we have to. Hyperlinking Table of Authorities is a baseline requirement for most courts in this day and age. For example, Rule 4.05.3(7)(3) of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure requires hyperlinks for compendiums and Tables of Authorities submitted to Court. So you don’t have an option, one way or another, it has to get done before you submit your documents. It’s not that compiling a Table of Authorities is particularly difficult; it’s that it takes a long time, requires a lot of finicky detail that’s easy to get wrong. Not to mention, because nobody writes a whole document in one sitting, finding everything at the end can be particularly time-consuming. 

Here are three practical tips to make this job much better 

  • Keep everything in a second window. Leave all of the tabs you use open while you are going so that at the end they are right there waiting for you. 
  • Hyperlink as you go. Rather than waiting until you are done to add in all of your hyperlinks, front-load the least fun part of preparing any argument by hyperlinking sources as you use them. 
  • Keep a “source” document on your computer when you start writing. Every time you open a new source, copy and paste the link and name of the source and/or what you used it for into the second document. When you are done, and while you are writing you will have a handy tool to see all of your sources, or share with your summer/articling students and juniors when they compile your Table of Authorities. 

If none of those options appeals to you,  I should also mention that CiteRight adds hyperlinks to your table of authorities automatically!

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