Friday, September 16, 2011

State Bar Meeting Updates

Thanks to the 100 or so lawyers (my rough count) who attended yesterday's research attorney panel discussion.  I was just as interested as the audience in soaking up the insights from the other panelists.  Our advice included:
  • Use your table of contents as a summary of your argument
  • Be scrupulous and copious with your citations to the record. The better your statement of facts, the more often a research attorney may turn to it.  Defuse bad facts by addressing them.
  • Pictures are worth 1,000 words.  Consider inserting charts, diagrams, or images into the text of a brief.  Or attach up to 10 pages from the record to your brief.
  • Direct your analysis to a generalist, avoiding jargon and legalese. 
  • Support your writ petition with a showing of irreparable injury. "Trial" may not seem injurious to justices who were dedicated trial lawyers and trial judges.
  • Ask for publication if you want it.  Your request will be given serious consideration -- especially if it describes the legal landscape and explains how your case may correct or refine it.
  • Similar advice on petitions for Supreme Court review.  Explain the state of the law -- including nonpublished decisions or cases from other jurisdictions -- and why your case is the vehicle for clarifying or correcting it.