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A recent Supreme Court oral argument

Check out this link. Click on White (Robert E.) et al. v. Square, Inc., S249248 on the left side of the page. Square provides credit card services to businesses that want to accept Mastercard &…

Little Things Mean A Lot

Some time ago, I received an email from a lawyer complaining about one of my columns, where I had quoted one of my reply briefs. I had written: “In our opening brief, we contended that …” The lawyer didn’…

Easy on the Adjectives

The following sentences have appeared in many of the appellate briefs I’ve reviewed over the years. What—if anything—is wrong with them? • “Appellant has utterly failed. . . .” • “The trial court was obvio…

They Got It All Wrong!

Despite your best efforts, the appellate court ruled against you. You just read their opinion, and you are mad as hell. They got it all wrong! The rules allow you to file a petition for rehearing,…

A "Great Brief" Makes Good Use of the Record

An attorney showed me a brief written by a well-known appellate lawyer, and said “This is a great brief. It’s well-written, logical and persuasive. You should write a column on how to write a great bri…

Effective Brief-Writing: The Reply Brief

Your reply brief might turn out to be the most important vehicle for influencing an appellate court. You’ve just seen your opponent’s best shot at the arguments you made in your opening brief. Now you…

Oral Argument - The Delivery

I’ve discussed how to prepare for oral argument. Now for the real thing. Your opening lines. Greet the judges and tell them who you are and whom you represent. "Good morning, your honors. Moe H…