Writ Petitions Are Won or Lost in the First Paragraph

Timothy Kowal, Esq.
November 11, 2022

When you have a legal emergency and you need the Court of Appeal to act right away, you need writ relief. But less than 10% of writ petitions are granted. So how do you get the court’s attention?

Justice David Thompson spent more time on his court’s writ panel over the last decade than anyone, and here is his advice:
You have to demonstrate why your case is writ-worthy in the first paragraph.

The first paragraph.

And the big thing you have to explain is: You are going to get a chance to appeal at the end of the case—why isn’t that enough? Why do you get to jump the line?

Also consider highlighting an interesting legal issue: some justices may be inclined to grant writ review to write on an issue they find interesting (though Justice Thompson does not endorse this school of thought).

Watch the clip here.

This is a clip from episode 54 of the California Appellate Law Podcast. The full episode is available here.

Tim Kowal 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. His appellate practice covers all of California's appellate districts and throughout the Ninth Circuit, with appellate attorneys in offices in Orange County and Monterey County. Contact Tim at tkowal@tvalaw.com or (714) 641-1232.