Friday, December 9, 2016

Justice Manella Podcast

Today's DJ Friday Podcast features Justice Nora Manella, who (as the DJ ad puts it) "chats life, law, and best appellate practices." The podcast features her thoughts about her childhood (her father was a tax attorney-- or was he taxidermist? As a child, she wasn't sure and didn't much care), her love of opera, her 5th Circuit clerkship (as the first "girl" clerk for Judge John Minor Wisdom), working at OMM, her transitions to public service and to the judiciary, differences between state and federal practice, differences between trial court practice and appellate work, and the importance of lunch!
"All law, all the time!"

On brief writing: "Organization, clarity, and concision, are what we long for in briefs, but only rarely get." Introductions (two pages long at the most) are "terribly important." Really good appellate practice is "a skill and an art."

On oral argument: The biggest flaw at oral argument is advocates who are not truly listening to the questions being asked by the bench. Strong advocates are nimble, and know when to pivot to a different issue. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Preparing via moot courts

For pointers on oral argument preparation via moot courts, see today's Law360 article Practice Arguments for Real Appeals by former Florida appellate judge Gerald Cope.
No preparation for oral argument is as valuable as a moot court in which you're interrogated by lawyers as familiar with your case as the court is likely to be. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is so effective in bringing to your attention issues that have not occurred to you and in revealing the flaws in your responses to issues you have been aware of.

As former Third Circuit Judge Timothy Lewis and co-author Nancy Winkelman put it, "Oral advocacy is an art. But similar to the art of hitting a baseball, it requires extensive practice and some idea of what a pitcher is about to throw."
He discusses a common moot court format:
  • First, the advocate presents an initial argument without interruption. The panel may want to comment on its logic, persuasiveness or sequence of points made.
  • Second, the advocate makes the presentation again, this time with interruption by questions from the moot panel. The session continues until the moot panel runs out of questions.
  • Third, there is a roundtable discussion between the advocate and moot panel about what aspects of the oral argument worked, what didn't work, and what improvements or modifications may be needed.

Speak of proper preparation, if you're the target of an appealable sanctions order (and that means, 'you' as counsel), you need to appeal in your own name (not your client's name). Otherwise, appeal dismissed, as here:
In short, plaintiff lacks standing to challenge the sanctions order, because sanctions were awarded only against plaintiff’s counsel. Because plaintiff’s counsel did not file a separate notice of appeal and was not named as a party in plaintiff’s notice of appeal, we are without jurisdiction to review the sanctions order.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cal Supremes Honor former CJ Lucas right now! {Click link}

Live Broadcast Begins Today at 11A.M.

Former Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas will be honored today, Dec 6, by the Supreme Court of California.

View live (link will be active at 10:45A.M.) 


Chief Justice, Supreme Court of California (1987-1996); and

Associate Justice, Supreme Court of California (1984-1987)

Opening Remarks

Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

Remarks by Court Members

Hon. Kathryn M. Werdegar

Hon. Ming W. Chin

Guests Speakers

Hon. Ronald M. George (Ret), Chief Justice

Hon. Edward A. Panelli (Ret.), Associate Justice

Hon. Marvin R. Baxter (Ret.), Associate Justice

Ms. Beth Jay (Ret.), Former Principal Attorney to the Chief Justice

Mr. Greg Lucas, California State Librarian

Monday, December 5, 2016

Today's DJ columns

Today's DJ features PJ Gilbert's final column of the year, Peace of Mind, wishing us all Happy Holidays and Peace of Mind.
Image result for nit picking
Consummate professionals!
Today's Moskovitz on Appeals column, It Matters, addresses nit picking, and argues that "Paying close attention to a multitude of small points will help you win more appeals." "Picking nits well is what makes one a professional."

Friday, December 2, 2016

No fee for Appellate Specialists for 2017!

This just in:

The California Board of Legal Specialization is pleased to inform you that the annual certified specialist fee will be waived for 2017.
Image result for no fees this yearWhy is the CBLS able to provide this one-time benefit?  When the legal specialist program implemented the first specialist annual fee increase in nearly two decades in 2011 and 2012, projections were made using the limited data available. The fee increases were necessary because the legal specialization program must be self-supporting, and the program was facing a deficit.  Since that time, the program’s financial health has been restored.  Retention of current specialists remained strong, the number of applicants taking the legal specialist examination increased and a number of cost-cutting measures were taken.  As a result, there is a surplus in the legal specialization fund exceeding the reserve limits recently established by the State Bar’s Board of Trustees.  As a way to spend down the surplus, the Board approved a one-time fee waiver for certified specialists.

To assist in the effort to grow the legal specialization program, you are encouraged to refer qualified candidates to register for the legal specialist examination at a special one-time reduced rate.  The examination will take place on October 24, 2017 in all eleven specialty areas of law. Candidates interested in registering for the legal specialist examination can visit the State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization web page to register.


Speaking of Bar dues, see Annual bar fee statements available soon, which notes:

The court authorized a fee of $412 for active attorneys, which includes a base assessment of $297, which is 5.7 percent less than the amount approved by the Legislature in 2016. In addition, existing legislation allows the bar to bill active attorneys $25 for disciplinary activities, $40 for the Client Security Fund, $10 for the Lawyer Assistance Program and $40 for legal aid nonprofits.

Once an attorney’s fees are paid, a paper bar card will be conveniently available for download through My State Bar Profile. Plastic bar cards will still be made available, but only upon request and can also be ordered through My State Bar Profile.

The due date for payment of fees will be March 1, one month later than usual.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Leondra Kruger program Dec. 6

CWL, WLALA, APAWLA, BWLALA, LLBA -- all are co-sponsors of A Conversation with California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, at the LA Law Library the evening of December 6 (cocktails at 5:30, dinner at 6:00, program at 7:00). Judge Consuelo Marshall will introduce Justice Kruger. Details here.

Also the evening of Dec. 6 at the DTLA Biltmore, ABTL presents Storytelling -- The Essence of Advocacy, by Jonathan Shapiro, author of Lawyers, Liars and the Art of Storytelling. Details here.

And today's Latin lesson comes from Justice Hoffstadt, who begins this published opinion like this:
Image result for cave canem
We are all familiar with the phrase, “caveat emptor”: Buyer beware. This case deals with its less renowned cousin, “caveat sectorem”: Broker beware.
For another catchy Hoffstadt opening today, see here.

Also of note: UCLA law clinic takes two cases to U.S. Supreme Court