Your Opportunity to Ask Appellate Judges About Writing Better Briefs

On February 25, 2011, the Georgia Appellate Practice Section will host a CLE on Appellate Practice at the State Bar of Georgia. The event has something to offer lawyers who practice before Georgia appellate courts, whether the lawyer is a seasoned appellate practitioner or only handles the occasional appeal. The event will cover all the major steps in the appeal from preserving the record, to writing the brief, to filing the brief, to handling the oral argument. The unique component of this event is that it features judges from the appellate courts and seasoned appellate lawyers conversing in panels. It won’t be a day of speeches. Rather, it will be a day of interactive learning and conversation.

I will be moderating a panel titled The Winning Brief: How to Capture the Judge’s Attention (And How to Lose it). Panelists will include three judges from the Georgia Court of Appeals, including Presiding Judge Herbert Phipps, Hon. Christopher McFadden, and Hon.Stephen Dillard. And Gerard Kleinrock, a great criminal appeals attorney who recently won a case in the United States Supreme Court, will participate.

This panel is great because it offers a combination of insight from the point of view of both sides of the bench. Mr. Kleinrock is a seasoned appellate lawyer. Presiding Judge Phipps has been on the Court since 1999. Judges Dillard and McFadden are new to the bench and can offer a fresh perspective on both preparing briefs for the court and reading briefs as judges.

The panel will converse about what makes appellate briefs effective and how briefs can also harm the client if the writer makes poor choices.

I am drafting an outline to guide the panel’s conversation. But I’d welcome the input of readers here. Even if you aren’t from Georgia, you could possibly benefit from hearing from this panel about writing appellate briefs.

Obviously, if you attend the CLE, you will get the full benefit of the discussion. But I will write a blog entry to sum up the best lessons I learn from this panel.

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