Appellate Advocacy Blog

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

Thursday, November 24, 2022

An Appellate Practitioner Gives Thanks (2022 Edition)

A lot has happened this year. But regardless of whether one views this year as a good one or a bad one, there always are reasons to give thanks. Last year, I posted what I was thankful for as an appellate practitioner. I felt like I left out a lot, so here is this year's version of what I'm thankful for.

  • Acknowledgment by legal writing experts that it's okay to end a sentence with a preposition (otherwise my previous sentence would be problematic).
  • Proportional fonts. Sure, I always liked the typewriter lookalike Courier New font. But it's way past time to move on.
  • Topic sentences. Not the easiest to write, but they certainly help clarify and strengthen any persuasive argument.
  • Voters' approval of a state constitutional amendment changing the name of Maryland's top court from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Maryland (have you ever seen their spiffy red robes?). Now if New York would only get on board and change their courts' confusing names.
  • The fact that when I was in law school there was only IRAC. Now every legal writing textbook has a different acronym, be it TREAC or CREAC or CRExAC or TRIAD, to explain the structure of a legal argument.
  • The admission of the public to Supreme Court arguments again.
  • Justice Breyer's long service to the nation.
  • A new member of the Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
  • All the discussion points that the Supreme Court of the United States has given me for my Supreme Court Practice class next semester.
  • Appellate advocates who refer to opposing counsel during argument by party name or "opposing counsel" rather than referring to them as "my friend" or "my colleague" (after all, is opposing counsel really your friend or colleague?). Okay, I know some of you like that (and maybe some courts like it, too). But personally I think unless you are Paul Clement or some other elite Supreme Court practitioner you shouldn't do it.
  • The apparent soon-to-be demise of the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings. Well, that probably is an exaggeration. Only those law schools that have nothing to lose, e.g., Harvard, Yale, and Berkeley, are likely to pull out.
  • All of my appellate mentors over the years, whether they were judges, supervisors, or academics.

And I'm thankful for you, whoever you are, for being interested enough in appellate matters to read this blog. Here's hoping that 2023 will bring us even more to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

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