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October 08, 2021 Council of Appellate Lawyers

CAL Chair's Column

By Brian Miller, Corpus Christi, TX

We hope to see many of you at the nation’s premier appellate bench-bar event – the Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit. Registrations for the Summit have been strong among judges, and we encourage appellate lawyers to register in droves and join us for a great event this November 11 to 14 in Austin, Texas.

Join us at the Summit

The Summit is a collaborative effort of AJEI, the National Judicial College, the Appellate Judges Conference, the Council of Appellate Staff Attorneys, and our Council of Appellate Lawyers.

This year’s Summit features several terrific programs and speakers. Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of Berkeley Law, will present his annual update on Supreme Court decisions in civil and criminal cases. Legal-writing enthusiasts can look forward to programs on writing from the reader’s perspective, featuring internationally-acclaimed writing expert Professor George Gopen. Appellate judge and bestselling author David Ellis will sit on a panel sharing storytelling techniques in advocacy. A great panel of appellate judges will share how judges read in an e-briefing era.

For appellate lawyers looking to develop their business skills, we have programs on building and growing an appellate practice (with panelists representing big-firm and small-firm perspectives) and on how in-house counsel view appellate practice (with representatives from AT&T, Shell, and Toyota).

We have substantive-law programs too, including programs on canons of construction, certified-question practice in federal appeals, reliability of forensic evidence, and more. We even have programs on preparing yourself mentally to be a better appellate lawyer, with a panel on mindfulness for appellate judges and lawyers and another on courage in advocacy and judging.

As usual, the Summit will include evening receptions, CAL’s Friday night dine-around at local restaurants, and the Saturday night gala dinner. We’ll also have the CAL Breakfast Roundtables, where attendees can meet and learn from one another at tables with designated topics for open discussion.

We are very aware of the uncertainties that the current public-health situation has caused. We’re fortunate to have a helpful host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Austin. The Hyatt provides spacious meeting space and has adopted safety protocols to reduce attendees’ risks. More information about those protocols is available on the Summit’s website.

Of course, a few panelists may withdraw late as the result of unavoidable circumstances, such as quarantine requirements. We are preparing backup plans so that the programs provide the expert insight and high-quality content that Summit attendees expect.

Your CAL membership entitles you to a $25 discount on the registration fee for this wonderful conference. (If you’re not already a member of CAL, this is one more good reason to join now!)

You can register on the Summit’s website  and also book your hotel room there. We hope to see you there!

Other CAL events and news

For many of us, our last in-person gathering was at the very successful 2019 AJEI Summit in Washington, D.C. None of us expected that we would have two canceled ABA Annual Meetings and no 2020 AJEI Summit between then and now.

For many of us, our last in-person gathering was at the very successful 2019 AJEI Summit in Washington, D.C. None of us expected that we would have two canceled ABA Annual Meetings and no 2020 AJEI Summit between then and now.

CAL members have risen to the challenge. Our membership has steadily increased. We have an active committee of State Chairs that represent all 50 states and some of the territories.  We began our Virtual Roundtable series, allowing CAL members to share views and ideas on appellate topics with one another. We are ramping up our online CLE efforts, with gracious support from Judicial Division staff and the Appellate Judges Conference board.

We encourage you to watch the recording of our recently presented CLE program Successfully Mediating Appeals: Tips from Experts. Presenters Brandon Ishikawa and Dana Curtis wrote the book on appellate mediations (Appellate Mediation: A Guidebook for Attorneys and Mediators). CAL member Steve Emmert, himself an appellate lawyer and mediator, moderated the program. They presented an insightful discussion on making mediation a more useful tool for appellate lawyers and their clients. You can access the recording – and your special $40 Judicial Division members’ price – on the ABA website.

With our leadership transition occurring before the next issue of the JD Record, this will be my last column as CAL’s Chair. I want to emphasize how much credit for a great year should go to our CAL leadership and volunteers – board members, committee chairs and members, liaisons to other groups, publication editors, State Chairs, and others. They worked hard to move the organization forward and generate value and opportunities for members. I especially want to thank last year’s Chair Deena Schneider for her work in keeping CAL active and next year’s Chair Mark Kressel for his advice and assistance this year and his preparations for an excellent year to come.

Brian Miller

Brian Miller

2020-2021 Council of Appellate Lawyers Chair

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