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Anticipate Opposing Arguments?

Suppose you are writing an Appellant's Opening Brief. In the trial court, your opponent made an argument against the position you are now taking. Should you deal with it in your Opening Brief - or…

Aggressive Reasonableness II

In an earlier blog, I proposed that lawyers engage in "aggressive reasonableness". "Aggressive unreasonableness", however, can hurt not just the client, but the lawyer too. …

Pecoraro v. Barbaccia

During my rather lengthy career as an appellate lawyer, I’ve handled many, many appeals and writs involving real property issues – but never one as strange as this one. In Pecoraro v. Barbaccia, hei…

Aggressive Reasonableness

Sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not. I once handled an appeal where this approach made all the difference. Plaintiff owned a single-family home near several fraternities on the south side of t…

Amicus Brief Helps Win 4th Amendment Case

A couple of years ago, Boalt Professor Charles Weisselberg asked me to file an amicus curiae brief in a Fourth Amendment case he was handling in the California Supreme Court: People v. Macabeo, No.…

When Should Clients Pursue an Appeal?

Pursuing an appeal in a civil case is risky and expensive. When a client first contacts me, I tell him I will help in two stages: First, I'll review enough of the record to enable me to advise him…

Footnotes in Briefs?

When I'm invited to speak to a group of lawyers about effective brief-writing, I'm often asked, "Should I use footnotes?" My answer: "Yes, but sparingly." Here's the problem. …