Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Notes from Justice Chin's talk

Thanks to Eric Chen for providing the following highlights from Justice Chin's OCBA presentation: 

·         Told story of becoming a justice: 
o   Two years in army as Captain, District Attorney’s office, then private practice in Oakland, to Alameda Sup. Ct.
·         Tips for becoming a judge: 
o   Be a good lawyer first. Pay attention to the work right in front of you and build your reputation as a litigator, taking “one case at a time.”
·         Tips for brief writing: 
o   The intro paragraph is hands-down the most important of the whole brief. Setup of the brief is key, so work hard on making the first paragraph clear and concise—take out excess words. These guidelines apply also for petitions for review. The first paragraph should tell the reader why this case needs review right now.
·         Tips for oral argument: 
o   Have a theme and be able to describe your issue in one sentence. Write out possible questions on notecards, shuffle them, and go card by card for the questions.
·         Re Amicus briefs:

o   They are helpful when they contribute a new idea but not helpful when you submit same ideas but seek “firepower in numbers.” Bringing a new perspective to the conversation is key, so try to introduce points or arguments not raised in the briefing.