In this roundup episode, we summarize the best tips for briefing, argument, and overall advocacy from the judges, attorneys, and specialists Jeff Lewis and I interviewed on the California Appellate Law Podcast in 2022.
Some of the tips and trends we cover:
There is a trend toward informality in legal writing—but do pop-culture references go too far?
Everyone knows oral argument usually doesn’t change the outcome, unless you have a whiz-bang answer to that all-important question from the panel. Which is why the drumbeat for “focus letters”—where the panel reveals the all-important question in time to formulate an answer to it—is getting louder.
Stop bombarding courts with evidence and arguments. Not only does it overtax juries and judges, it betrays weakness: If you’re right, why do you keep repeating yourself?
And from one of our favorite conversations, Justice James Lambden offered this metaphor for the practice of law and the importance of civility:
“Litigation is not like preparing for a battle, it’s more like going on an expedition … like taking a trip across the mountains and encountering different places where you have to do different things.”