Law 793:  Appellate Practice

Appellate advocacy is perhaps the most well-known aspect of being a lawyer. Drafting briefs and orally arguing cases is often viewed as a pinnacle in a lawyer’s career. But working as an appellate attorney involves more than just authoring briefs and arguing them before the appellate court; a successful appellate attorney must understand the full breadth of appellate practice, which in truth begins long before the notice of appeal is filed and continues after the appellate decision.

This course offers a detailed survey of all aspects of appellate practice and provides students with exposure to common appellate issues they will face, whether working for a large firm within an appellate department, in small firm, or in solo practice. Students will become conversant with the rules governing appellate practice and learn how to strategize as an appeal progresses, beginning with the framing of issues during motion litigation and preservation of error during trial. Subjects discussed will range from developing strong post-trial motions to appellate motion practice to drafting briefs, oral argument, and post-decision petitions. 

Evaluation Method:  Students will be expected to attend class, review the assigned reading before class, and participate in class discussions. Some classes will be predominately lecture and reduced participation is understood. Grades will be based on the following: two short writing and argument analysis assignments; class participation; drafting of selected motions/pleadings and a memorandum of law; and drafting of a legal opinion. Approximately 30 percent of the course grade will be determined by a written examination covering topics discussed during the course. A sample legal problem will serve as the basis for most of the assigned projects.

Sequence and Prerequisites: Successful completion of Introduction to Advocacy

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