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January 03, 2020 Council of Appellate Lawyers

CAL Chair's Column

By Deena Jo Schneider, Philadelphia, PA

I’m honored to be the new Chair of the Council of Appellate Lawyers (CAL).  I want to build on our many achievements last year under David Tennant’s leadership.  Here are some highlights and how you can get involved with CAL: 

  • Our signature event was the Appellate Judges Education Institute (AJEI) Summit, which we helped organize with the Appellate Judges Conference and Duke Law School’s Bolch Judicial Institute.  The 2019 Summit, held in Washington, DC, featured a keynote address by Justice Neil Gorsuch and over 20 top-notch programs on substantive topics (e.g., personal jurisdiction and judicial review of agency actions), legal trends (e.g., decline in oral argument and use of linguistics to interpret texts), challenges (e.g., judicial independence and bail reform), and practice tips (e.g., ethical considerations and the use of bonds and stays).  Attendees also connected at a reception at the Supreme Court, a CAL-hosted Meet and Greet reception and Dine-Around at local restaurants, guided tours, and the annual dinner.

    Special thanks are due CAL’s Summit Chair Brian Miller for his amazing energy and hard work and the team he assembled, including Steve Emmert (marketing) and Matt Friedlander (social media).  Thanks also to the JD and Duke staffs for their strong support.  And warm thanks to the many sponsors whose generous financial support made the Summit possible:  West (a Thomson Reuters Business), Fox Rothschild LLP, King & Spalding LLP, Counsel Press, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Locke Lord LLP, Robins Kaplan LLP, Winston & Strawn LLP, Alexander Dubose & Jefferson LLP, Best & Flanagan LLP, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Carlton Fields, Cokinos Young, Dickinson Wright PLLC, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC, Haynes and Boone LLP, Holland & Knight LLP, Horvitz & Levy LLP, Ice Miller LLP, Mayer Brown LLP, Paul Hastings LLP, Royston Rayzor Vickery & Williams LLP, Supreme Court Historical Society, and Warner Norcross +  Judd LLP.

    Everyone did such a good job planning and promoting the Summit that it sold out!  If you missed this extraordinary experience, mark your calendars now for the 2020 AJEI Summit on November 12-15 in Austin, Texas.  CAL is working with AJEI and its new Summit partner the National Judicial College to make the 2020 Summit even bigger and better.  To join this effort, contact me or CAL’s 2020 Summit Chair Anna Manasco
  • Our Programming Committee, chaired by Anna Manasco, also enjoyed much success.  CAL presented well-received programs at the ABA Annual Meeting on First Amendment and the Media and at the YLD Spring Conference on What Judges Would Like Young Lawyers to Know and Vice Versa.  We are now preparing proposals for 2020.  Contact our new Programming Chair Jill Wheaton to get involved. 
  • Our newsletter Appellate Issues was published twice in 2019.  The Winter Edition recapped 2018 Summit programs on topics including discretionary review, the civil rights movement, sexual harassment in the courtroom, and artificial intelligence in appellate practice.  The Summer Edition focused on niche areas of appellate practice such as bonds, mediation, consulting, and pro bono.  To write for this excellent publication, contact Editor Nancy Olson
  • Our Rules Committee is working on comments on a proposed change to Rule 3 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, which governs the contents of a notice of appeal.  To join this group, contact Rules Chair Jill Wheaton.
  • Our Membership Committee, chaired by George Abele and Ben Cooper, is committed to increasing our size by reaching out to appellate lawyers in other parts of the ABA and state and regional bar groups.   Our new State Chairs Committee, chaired by Richard Kraus, Gretchen Harris Sperry, and Cynthia Timms, focuses on local recruitment.  Contact any of them if you want to help.

During CAL’s Annual Meeting at the Summit, Mark Kressel was elected Chair-Elect and Brian Miller was elected Secretary.  John Baker, Matt Friedlander, Gretchen Harris Sperry, David Timchak, and Cynthia Timms were elected and Katie Barrett Wiik and Richard Kraus re-elected to our Board.  I look forward to working with them and all of you. I also thank David Tennant and the Board members completing their terms for their dedication to the improvement of appellate advocacy and justice through the only national appellate bench-bar organization in the United States. 

Deena Jo Schneider

Deena Jo Schneider

2019-2020 Council of Appellate Lawyers Chair