The form of briefs is detailed under Rule 20(a) of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure.       

In particular: the appellant's brief cover is blue, appellee's brief is red, reply brief is gray, amicus or intervenor's brief is green, and the appendix is white. Service of the briefs is governed by Rules 13 and 19(a).  The appellant's brief is due forty days after entry of the case, and the appellee's brief is due thirty days after that; reply briefs are due fourteen days later.  An original and seventeen copies must be filed with the Clerk, and two copies are served on counsel for each party separately represented.  Rule 19(b)(2).

Requirements for the content of the briefs is set forth in Rule 16(a).

The following are required:

  1. A table of contents, with references to the pages in the brief where they are cited ; a table of cases, statutes and other authorities, with page references.
  2. A statement of the issues presented.
  3. A statement of the case and a statement of the facts.
  4. If the argument is more than twenty-four pages, a summary of the argument shall appear before the argument.
  5. A short conclusion.
  6. A copy of any written findings or memorandum of decision pertinent to an issue on appeal, included as an addendum.
  7. A one-page plan illustrating geographical facts, if appropriate, unless reproduced in the record appendix.
  8. Appropriate identification of counsel.

Principal briefs are limited to fifty pages, and twenty pages for a reply brief, see Rule 16(h).  Motions to exceed page limits are granted only for extraordinary reasons.

In addition, Rule 16(f) requires that constitutional provisions, statutes, rules, and regulations -- or pertinent parts -- shall be reproduced in the brief or in a statutory addendum.

The forms of Massachusetts citations are set forth in Rule 16(g).

Counsel must certify that their briefs comply with the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure.  Rule 16(k).
Briefs in murder appeals have slightly different rules with respect to the time allowed for filing of the briefs.  Rule 19(d)(1).

Briefs of amicus curiae are discussed at Rule 17.

Citation to supplemental authorities after briefing is governed by Rule 16(l).