Appellate Courts and Advocacy Workshop
J.D. Seminar 049
| 3 credit hours
The Appellate Courts and Advocacy Workshop combines a review of key appellate litigation doctrines concerning appellate jurisdiction, standards of review, and other topics, with an intensive advocacy component, including motion and brief writing. The course considers each stage of the appellate litigation process, beginning with a general overview, moving to the various bases for appellate jurisdiction in the federal courts, then discussing standards of review, and concluding with a review of the anatomy of an appellate brief. We will also briefly consider U.S. Supreme Court practice. Students considering judicial clerkships after graduation may find this course useful.
During the doctrinal portion of the class, students are required to complete about a half dozen small to medium-sized writing assignments. These assignments do two things: They introduce students to some aspect of appellate practice and demand application of one or more of the course's doctrinal topics. In addition to these smaller assignments, students are also responsible for writing an appellate brief. For all assignments, students are provided copies of relevant practice rules, statutes, cases, and other items. No outside research is involved. Students receive individualized feedback on each writing assignment.
The doctrinal portion of the course, and the corresponding small to medium-sized writing assignments, will be covered during the first three-quarters or so of the course. The appellate brief will be completed during the remainder of the class. While working on the brief, each student will have a one-on-one meeting with the teacher to review a draft brief. The student will then submit a final version of the brief.
All students are expected to attend class. Students should prepare for class by reading the assigned materials and completing the writing assignment. Students are expected to discuss the materials and assignments in class. A practice-oriented small class depends on active student participation.
The teacher, Brian Wolfman, is co-Director of GULC's Institute of Public Representation, where he directs a student-based clinic that handles individual civil rights cases and general public interest litigation. He is the former Director of Public Citizen Litigation Group, a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C., where he worked for almost 20 years. He has litigated dozens of cases in federal courts of appeals, state appellate courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Prerequisites: Civil Procedure (or the section 3 course, Legal Process and Society).
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