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April 07, 2023 Appellate Judges Conference

Council of Appellate Lawyers Chair's Column

By Ms. Kirsten Castañeda, Dallas, TX

The Council of Appellate Lawyers is a dynamic community, and 2023 already is giving us opportunities to gather, share, and serve. If you haven’t availed yourself of your fellow CAL members’ collegiality, humor, and support, I encourage you to sign up for a committee and attend a virtual meeting. One of the things I love best about CAL is our commitment to not waste time with make-work – we don’t hold meetings for the sake of checking a box! We have plenty of meaningful work to do, and there are tasks of every size to tackle: from quick to lengthy, building-block to pivotal, bite-size to all-you-can-eat. No matter your availability, we have a spot for you! Joining a committee is a gateway to meeting other appellate lawyers and reaping the benefits of membership in this dynamic community.

For example, our AJEI Planning Committee has been hard at work on CAL program proposals for the 2023 Appellate Judges Education Institute. This year’s AJEI will be held in Washington, D.C., on November 2 through 5. Having completed our program-planning work, this committee is now reaching out to lawyers across the country to encourage registration and sponsorships. Thus, joining this committee not only introduces you to committee members and keeps your finger on the pulse of the upcoming AJEI programs and events, but also provides opportunities to connect with other appellate lawyers from coast to coast.

Our Programming Committee is in the process of preparing various offerings, including our next Riding the Circuits webinar. Thus far, this series has offered insights from experienced practitioners and judges in the Third, Sixth, and Ninth Circuits. Past webinars are available on-demand on CAL’s website at discounted member rates. More information about the upcoming edition—including the Circuit reveal!—will be included in upcoming CAL newsletters, on our Council of Appellate Lawyers LinkedIn group, and through ABA Communities. (These communications are, of course, the product of our Communications Committee, which always benefits from creative members eager to hone their skills at creating themes, framing issues, and catching an audience’s attention!)

Additionally, our State Chairs Committee—comprising one CAL member from each U.S. state and Puerto Rico—has worked diligently to complete a nationwide survey of state appellate practices. This survey yielded a trove of practical information not found in any rulebook, illuminating similarities and differences in appellate practice from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The committee is producing a series of webinars highlighting “Traps for Appellate Out-of-Towners” in several, geographically proximate jurisdictions. First up: the “West Coast Edition,” focusing on California, Arizona, and Nevada state courts. By the time this JD Record hits the newsstand (a/k/a your inbox), our webinar already will have streamed, but we anticipate the recorded CLE will be available on CAL’s website. If you missed it live, please look for it on-demand at a discounted member price.

These examples highlight an important goal of mine for this year of service: connection. Connection among our committees to maximize the value of our work and diversity. Connection among our members within committees to gather ideas and create initiatives that educate, inspire, and support current and future CAL members. And connection among members throughout CAL to foster the collegial business relationships and friendships that are a treasured hallmark of the appellate bar.

Please let us know if you would like to join a committee or learn more about what our committees do. Feel free to contact me directly or direct your inquiry to Amy Dasgupta, our ABA staff liaison, to connect you with the best person to answer your questions.

Ms. Kirsten M. Castañeda

2022-2023 Chair, AJC Council of Appellate Lawyers

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