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April 05, 2021 Council of Appellate Lawyers | Appellate Judges Conference

CAL Chair's Column

By Brian Miller, Corpus Christi, TX

Member involvement drives the success of any voluntary organization, and the Council of Appellate Lawyers is no exception. We want to get you more involved, and here’s our plan!

Virtual receptions

At February’s ABA Midyear Meeting, we held our first virtual reception. Appellate lawyers from both coasts and places in between connected with a mouse click. We look forward to having similar events so that we see more of our members in a social setting.

Online roundtables

Members have expressed interest in having online roundtable discussions, similar to the in-person discussions that we have as part of the Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit. In these discussions, everyone is a panelist as we discuss (and sometimes debate) matters of special interest to appellate lawyers.

We are in the process of setting up the first such event. We hope you register and engage your colleagues!

New CAL newsletter

On February 12, we published our first CAL newsletter. With this new publication, we can supplement the in-depth articles of Appellate Issues with short reads about CAL activities, profiles of and tips from members and judges, and more. If you did not receive the initial CAL newsletter, please check your email preferences on the ABA website or contact me, and I’ll forward your concern.

If you want to write a short piece (ideally 200 to 250 words) for the newsletter, please contact our newsletter editor Devin Dolive.

Of course, we still want longer pieces for Appellate Issues. If you have an article idea for that publication, please contact its editor Nancy Olson.

ABA Annual Meeting

We remain optimistic that we will have an in-person Annual Meeting this August. As of this date of this article, we only know that the meeting will not take place in Toronto as was planned. If we have an in-person Annual Meeting, we hope to see you at the Judicial Division’s Welcome Reception and in the audience for our programming. If we don’t have an in-person meeting, please attend our virtual events.

Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit

Planning continues for the 2021 AJEI Summit in Austin from November 11 to 14. The Summit is the premiere appellate bench-bar event in the country, and it has programming that benefits practitioners of all levels of experience. I consider the Summit to be the one place practitioners should go to learn more about the art, skill, strategy, and business of appellate practice. The opportunities to network with and learn from fellow appellate lawyers and judges are second to none.

Although we cannot share the lineup of topics and speakers quite yet, you will be most pleased. For more information, periodically check the AJEI webpage. Of course, we’ll give you more information in this and other publications as we can. Please attend!

In the interim, you are welcome to watch two AJEI recordings from last fall – a program on addressing implicit biases and Berkley Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky’s annual Supreme Court review. You can access those programs at:

State Chairs

We have designated State Chairs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our State Chairs are additional contacts between CAL and its members and prospective members. Please feel free to reach out to your State Chair. Although we don’t have room to list all of the State Chairs in this article, please contact one of our State Chair Coordinators – Gretchen Harris Sperry and Cynthia Timms – to learn who your State Chair is.


Finally, I invite you to join a CAL Committee. Committee chairs and their contact information are listed below. If you think CAL should have a committee that isn’t on this list, please contact me with your idea.

Solo/small-practice – Virginia McMichael

Rules – Kip Nelson

Programming – Karen Precella and Katie Barrett Wiik

Membership – Matt Friedlander

Pro Bono – David Timchak and Arleigh Helfer

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Savannah Potter-Miller

AJEI Summit – Jill Wheaton

Long Range Planning – Deena Schneider

Book Proposals – Ben Cooper

We hope to see you at our online and in-person events!

Brian Miller

Brian Miller

2020-2021 Council of Appellate Lawyers Chair