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April 03, 2020 Council of Appellate Lawyers

CAL Chair's Column

By Deena Jo Schneider, Philadelphia, PA

The Council of Appellate Lawyers (CAL) is busy pursuing new initiatives in each of our spheres of activity.  We invite all appellate lawyers to join us and get involved. 

Programming:  We are actively engaged in helping to organize this year’s Appellate Judges Education Institute (AJEI) Summit, which will be held November 12-15 in Austin, Texas.  In addition to Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, the noted legal expert who will be a keynote speaker sharing with us a review of recent Supreme Court cases, there will be panels on cutting-edge appellate issues such as legal ethics in a tech world, incorporating storytelling in briefs, collaborating with in-house counsel, certifying questions of state law, and answering questions at oral argument.  The Summit also offers unparalleled opportunities to talk informally with appellate judges, staff attorneys, and other practitioners.  Thanks to CAL Summit Chair Anna Manasco and her team for their work with AJEI Summit Chair Justice Eva Guzman, the Appellate Judges Conference, and our new educational partner the National Judicial College, to make this Summit the best ever.  Since last year’s Summit sold out, be sure to register early this year! 

Our programming extends beyond AJEI Summits.  Under the leadership of our Programming Chair Jill Wheaton, we plan to present an appellate practice CLE in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting and one or more webinars during the year.  We are working to develop cost-effective ways to present programs to provide value to our members and appellate lawyers more broadly.  Ideas and assistance are welcome. 

Publications:  This year’s Winter edition of CAL’s newsletter Appellate Issues reported on most of the programs presented during last year’s AJEI Summit, ranging from originalism and press coverage of the Supreme Court to recent changes in personal jurisdiction law and transgender rights.  Many thanks to all of the authors of these excellent articles and editor Nancy Olson for putting them together.  Contact Nancy to write for or help edit the Summer edition of Appellate Issues

We are also working on updating CAL’s comprehensive Appellate Practice Compendium, an insider’s guide to appellate practice in each state and federal jurisdiction in the United States.  Reach out to me to contribute to this important project. 

Rules:  Demonstrating appellate lawyers’ attention to detail, in February we filed comments on proposed Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 3(a)(6) dealing with the contents of the notice of appeal.  Special thanks to Jill Wheaton and Sarah Schrup for their efforts on this submission.  To work on our Rules Committee’s next initiative, contact new Chair Karen Precella

State Chairs:  I am happy to report that our State Chairs Committee now covers 15 states and continues to grow.  State Chairs serve as liaisons between CAL and state and local appellate bars and coordinate with other liaisons.  If you are interested in becoming a State Chair, contact any of the Committee Chairs Richard Kraus, Gretchen Harris Sperry, and Cindy Timms.  Strengthening ties with other bar groups makes each group stronger and benefits all of their members. 

Membership:  We are continuing to increase our outreach to law schools with appellate clinics to encourage both professors and students to become involved with CAL.  If you have connections to a particular school, reach out to Sarah Schrup, who is leading this effort. 

Other CAL Committees are focused on specific practice areas.  Pro Bono Chair David Timchak and Government and Public Service Lawyers Chair Nancy Olson want to hear from anyone interested in joining their groups or spearheading a project geared to them.  We hope to start additional groups for in-house counsel, plaintiffs’ counsel, solo and small firm lawyers, and young lawyers.  To work on any of these initiatives or a different one, contact either of our Membership Chairs George Abele and Ben Cooper.

Communications:  We are always looking for better ways to keep members up to date on all of our activities and member resources through emails, Connect messages, social media, and our website.  Contact Website and Social Media Chair Matt Friedlander to help.  

Thanks to CAL’s Board members and everyone else working to carry out our mission of improving appellate advocacy and justice through the first and only national bench-bar appellate organization in the United States.  Together we can accomplish much.  I hope you’ll join us!  If you’re not sure where to start, contact me.  

Deena Jo Schneider

Deena Jo Schneider

2019-2020 Council of Appellate Lawyers Chair