Appellate Advocacy Blog

Editor: Tessa L. Dysart
The University of Arizona
James E. Rogers College of Law

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

#TwitterTuesday--Lone Star Litigators


Today on #TwitterTuesday we are featuring lawyers from the Lone Star State.

David Walsh (@AppealsCRKA) is an appellate lawyer (and partner) at Chamblee Ryan in Texas. Over his career, Walsh has handled appeals on a wide-range of topics, including the right against self-incrimination, admissibility of expert testimony, insurance coverage, and civil rights.

Kirsten Castaneda (@Texapp) is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Castaneda works in Dallas with the firm of Alexander Dubose Jefferson Townsend and often tweets helpful advice for fellow lawyers.

Tate Hemingson (@Tate_Hemingson) is a commercial litigator and appellate attorney with Strasburger & Price in Dallas. This self-described “grammar nerd” also writes articles, like one recently published with the Dallas Bar Association.

March 28, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Appellate Advocacy Blog Weekly Roundup March 24 2017


As  we do every Friday, the Appellate Advocacy Blog presents a few tidbits of news and Twitter posts from the past week concerning appellate advocacy. As always, if you see something during the week that you think we should be sure to include, feel free to send Dan a quick email at[email protected] or a message on Twitter (@Daniel_L_Real).

Judge Gorsuch Nomination and Hearing:

The biggest news item of this past week, as it relates to appellate practice, was surely the confirmation hearing held over several days for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.  It appears that the vote on his confirmation will take place in early April, so it will likely continue to be a big news item over the next couple of weeks, as well.

Here are links to a variety of items of interest concerning Judge Gorsuch, his nomination, and the confirmation hearing:

 ABA Live Blog of Day 1 of the hearing

ABA Live Blog of Day 2 of the hearing

ABA Live Blog on Day 3 of the hearing

ABA Live Blog of Day 4 of the hearing


University of Virginia Law School Creation:  Neil Gorsuch Project -- including links to opinions, speeches, etc.


CNN Article: Gorsuch on issues

NPR Article: Assertions made regarding Gorsuch on Maternal Leave

Washington Post Article: Some key Gorsuch rulings 

Reuters Article: Democtrats' Plan to Fight Nomination

Trump's Travel Ban:

This week, Judge Alex Kozinski authored an opinion in which he defended President Trump's travel ban against assertions that the ban is contrary to the First Amendment.  That opinion gained some publicity:

Kozinski opinion

 Supreme Court Rulings

The Supreme Court issued a couple of important rulings on meaningful cases this week.

Endrew F. v. Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist.

Regarding standards for what schools must do under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act to provide appropriate services for students.  In the Supreme Court's unanimous decision, the Court ruled that schools must do more than provide a "merely more than de minimis" education program.

Education Week Blog Article about Opinion

 Link to Supreme Court Opinion

Bloomberg summary of oral argument from January

Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

Regarding copyright law protections for "decorative features" on cheerleading uniforms.

ABA Journal Article about Opinion

Link to Supreme Court Opinion

March 24, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#TwitterTuesday--Empire State


Today's #TwitterTuesday comes from the great state of New York.  Here are a few folks/courts to follow for #appellatetwitter in NY:

The New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, has its own Twitter account (@NYCourtsCOA). The Court’s tweets provide information regarding their calendar and recent decisions. 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) keeps us up to date on what is happening in the Department of Law.

The Third (@NYAppDiv3) and Fourth (@NYAppDiv4) Judicial Departments of the Supreme Court - Appellate Division have their own Twitter accounts to keep followers informed and even providing the opportunity to see cases live.

Robert Rosborough IV (@NYSAppeals) is an “#AppellateTwitter Litigator” with Whiteman, Otherman & Hanna LLP. Rosborough’s tweets include a wide range of topics from appellate law in New York and around the country to the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch.

March 21, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 20, 2017

To "Um" or Not--A Discussion of Disfluencies for Lawyers, Professors, and Students

As a moot court coach, I teach my students to not use disfluencies like "um" or "uh" in their oral arguments. According to Prof. Barbara Gotthelf's article, A Lawyer's Guide to Um, my dislike of these disfluencies is not unique, but it might be wrong.  After hearing a moot court judge critique an advocate for her use of "uh" and "um," Prof. Gotthelf "began consulting books on public speaking, including texts written specifically for lawyers, and they all gave the impression that using uh and um might be the single worst thing any speaker could do." Having previously heard from a psycholinguist that "using uh and um was not only 'perfectly normal,' but also helpful in furthering effective communication," Prof. Gotthelf dug even further into the literature and found "a body of scientific literature that supports Dr. Shriberg’s views and demonstrates that, contrary to public perception, uh and um are not only inevitable, but actually useful bits of communication."

Prof. Gotthelf's response to the "um fixation" is expressed in the article, which was published by Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD and is available here.  I haven't had a chance to review it in depth, but I look forward to doing so soon (at least in advance of the below event).

In addition to publishing the article, Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD is holding a live Facebook discussion of the article.  Below is the announcement that I received regarding the event.  I am sure that it will be, uh, a great discussion.

Gearing up for spring oral argument competitions? Join Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD for a live Facebook chat-based discussion of Professor Barbara Gotthelf’s article, The Lawyer’s Guide to Um. This article about disfluencies like “um” and “uh” should be of particular interest to moot court advisors, practitioners, law students, and anyone who teaches oral argument. Should verbal fillers be vilified? Read the article and come weigh in!

The chat will take place on Thursday, April 6 at 3pm Eastern. Professor Jennifer Romig of Emery University School of Law will moderate. To participate in the discussion, join the LC&R Discussion Group here: You may join at any time in advance of the chat. When you join, you can check out the archives of our previous discussions.

 Professor Gotthelf’s article can be found here on the Journal’s website:

The Group invites participation by lawyers, law professors, professors from communications and other fields, legal professionals, law students, and anyone with an interest in law and legal communication. It is a forum for the free exchange of ideas with civility and mutual respect.


March 20, 2017 in Appellate Advocacy, Appellate Practice, Moot Court, Oral Argument | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Full Citizenship Project

Last week, on International Women's Day, the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) and the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) announced the "Full Citizenship Project for All Law Faculty" campaign.  According to the press release, the project is "aimed at correcting gender and related disparities among U.S. law faculty." The press release explains:

 As law faculty status and salaries decrease, the percentage of women faculty increases. Based on available data, roughly—and only—36 percent of tenured or tenure track faculty are female, whereas 63 percent of clinical faculty and 70 percent of legal writing faculty are female. This disparity is due to faculty teaching in skills-based areas often being denied the opportunity to earn the same security of position and academic freedom that traditional law faculty enjoy. Yet security of position and academic freedom are needed for a robust classroom and innovative teaching in all areas of law.

The press release has been featured on the blog for the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) and on Prof. Paul Caron's TaxProf Blog.  Additionally, a article discusses the project and features a nice supporting quote from Denise Roy, the co-president of SALT.  Finally, for a more personal perspective, a clinical professor has written about her experiences in academia here.


March 13, 2017 in Law School, Legal Profession | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

#TwitterTuesday--Legal Tech


Technology has significantly changed how lawyers do their jobs, especially appellate lawyers.  From e-filing to computerized research, the impact of technology has been huge.  So, for #TwitterTuesday, here are a few legal tech Twitter feeds to follow:

AppealTech (@AppealTech) is a “comprehensive appellate services provider” that producers a blog with helpful information related to appellate practice and technology.

Legal IT News (@LegalIT) is a good source for keeping up with the latest advances in legal technology.

For information “covering products, services, people, news, analysis, and commentary for the legal technology community,” check out Legaltech©news (@Legaltech_news)

Legal IT Insider (@LegalITInsider) is a London-based company publishes articles on the latest tech trends from the U.K. to the U.S.


March 7, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Would Trump make a deal for the Supreme Court?

Senator Udall, D-NM, has an offer for President Trump (one that he would probably refuse): "We'll give you Gorsuch, if you agree to replace one of the liberal justices with Merrick Garland."


This deal is contingent upon the voluntary retirement of one of the more elderly justices like Ginsburg, Kennedy, or Breyer. Supposedly, Trump would charm one of them into retirement by guaranteeing that Garland would be nominated in his or her place. Then, the Senate would confirm both new justices simultaneously.

Well, that would certainly go toward maintaining the supposed balance of the Court, but whether that would be good for maintaining the neutrality of the process is questionable. The Court is already besieged by political attacks, and this would not help repair that perception.

Apparently Sen. Udall pitched this idea to Judge Gorsuch in a private meeting that included White House officials. Sen. Udall has mentioned this to other senators, but so far his persuasive skills do not appear to be winning over any supporters. Should he consult The Art of the Deal


March 2, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)