Last week I presented my talk “Ten Trial Tips from an Appellate Specialist” to the San Francisco Lawyers Network (Feb. 16, 2023). Here are the tips:
Rule Zero: Make the Record
#1 Make sure your theories of the case are captured in your pleadings
#2 Was key evidence excluded? Preserve the issue by making a proffer.
#3 Keep objecting to evidence if the judge “defers” ruling on your MIL.
#4 Object to Jury Instructions
#5 Review the Verdict for Inconsistences
#6 Request and Object to the Statement of Decision
#7 File a motion for new trial to preserve challenges to the damages amount …and Watch out for JNOVs!
#8 Calculate Appellate Deadlines Correctly
#9 Avoid Common Appellate Briefing Mistakes
#10 Advise your client about important post-judgment issues (Attorney fees and costs; SLAPP fees; Bonds and Stays of Judgment-Enforcement; Post-judgment interest)
Evergreen Tip: Get a Court Reporter!
You may download a PDF of my slideshow here.
Thank you to my colleagues who sent me their top tips!
Tim Kowal is an appellate specialist certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Tim helps trial attorneys and clients win their cases and avoid error on appeal. He co-hosts the Cal. Appellate Law Podcast at www.CALPodcast.com, and publishes a newsletter of appellate tips for trial attorneys at www.tvalaw.com/articles. Contact Tim at email@example.com or (714) 641-1232.
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