June 11, 2019


All appellate arguments have predesignated time limits. Some basic principles will help the advocate make the most of the period available.

  • If you represent the appellant, always request rebuttal time. This is one of the very...

March 29, 2019

An oral argument to an appellate court has many purposes. The advocate wants to present the essence of her case, rebut the essence of opposing counsel’s case, repair any problems discovered after submission of the reply brief, respond to the concerns expressed by the c...

February 28, 2019

You want judges to read your brief with care, but if it is hard on the eye or jarring to the internal ear, the judges are likely to skim it in frustration and move on to something else.

      Here are some simple rules to make your brief a pleasure to read:


February 20, 2019

On September 19, 2017, in American Beverage Association v. City and County of San Francisco, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit annulled a San Francisco ordinance requiring advertisements for certain beverages sweetened with sugar to include large...

September 6, 2017

             Imagine when a judge calls your case, the opposing attorney approaches the counsel table in a bizarre feathered outfit like the one in the picture. Someone listening to his argument on the radio might hear a brilliant presentation, but you and the judge ma...

July 21, 2017

            In a recent post I explained the importance of standards of review in appellate practice. In brief, when it exercises deferential review, the appellate court determines if the lower court’s decision was reasonable even if the appellate court disagrees with...

December 14, 2016

    I recently chatted with a colleague representing a young boy with a chronic digestive disorder. The principal of his public school refused to allow him to snack during the day as his doctor required, and the child’s condition seriously deteriorated as a result. My...

December 1, 2016

    One of the most frustrating events in the life of an appellate attorney occurs when a colleague asks us to appeal from an adverse judgment and our examination of the record reveals what would have been an excellent issue for review but our colleague did not object...

November 10, 2016

A scientist examining some aspect of nature has a range of optical implements at her disposal, such as a microscope, a magnifying glass, and a telescope. The view she obtains and the conclusions she reaches are in part a function of the instrument she selects.
    An a...

October 22, 2016

We all learned in grade school about the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments to the Constitution, which the Founding Fathers enacted to protect the rights of individuals. Unfortunately, relatively few are aware of what came next: the Eleventh Amendment, which limi...

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