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June 27, 2013 Articles

Book Review: A Practitioner's Guide to Appellate Advocacy

An excellent resource worthy of your library.

By Joseph Esry

Anne Marie Lofaso, Editor-in-Chief
A Practitioner’s Guide to Appellate Advocacy
American Bar Association Section of Litigation

Many are the manuals for appellate practice. This one is not just another entry by yet another publisher. This is the American Bar Association Section of Litigation’s offering. Thus, we should have high expectations for it.

A Practitioner’s Guide to Appellate Advocacy was produced by an all-star team of appellate practitioners. The contributors include law professors, leaders of the Section of Litigation’s Appellate Practice Committee, fellows of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (AAAL), and members of the American Law Institute (ALI).

The guide includes a chapter on ethics on appeal that explains the duty of competency and diligence that should make a trial litigator think twice before handling an appeal, as well as make an appellate lawyer consider carefully his or her special duties regarding advice about appeals, the costs, and chances of success. A chapter on error preservation points out the importance of making timely objections on the record that state all the relevant grounds. The chapter on jurisdiction explains who can appeal, the final judgment rule, Rule 54(b) certification, permissive appeals, the collateral order doctrine, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, and mandamus petitions. Also included are chapters on standards of review, electronic filing, settlement on appeal, brief writing, oral argument, additional authority letters, rehearing petitions, petitions for certiorari, and the certification of questions to state courts. The chapters are not mere essays, but are, as the title implies, guides for practitioners with useful citations to statutes, rules, and cases from around the country.

This book is consistently well written. There are many authors. But the crew of editors ensured that every voice is clear as well as distinctly individual. The organization of the material is quite logical, making the book a good reference source.

This reviewer is a law student who works as a law clerk for an AAAL Fellow and ALI member. Reading the book from cover to cover taught me a number of things. A review of numerous other appellate practice manuals (my employer apparently has every one ever published) revealed how comprehensive and concise of this guide is.

A young practitioner would definitely benefit from reading this entire book. Indeed it might not leave your desk after that. But, an experienced appellate advocate should also find valuable material in this up-to-date guide. This is an excellent resource, well worth adding to your library.

Keywords: litigation, appellate practice, AAAL, ALI

Joseph Esry is a second-year student at the Law School of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Copyright © 2013, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).