Many young lawyers are lucky enough to secure a position as a judicial law clerk between law school and beginning to practice. Appellate clerkships are generally considered the most desirable. The main reason that young lawyers want these positions is because they gain valuable experience by working with a sitting judge every day, learning the best ways to persuade a court. Perhaps even more importantly, they also learn what not to do by observing the mistakes made by the lawyers before the court.
Virginia appellate lawyer Jay O’Keefe has been running an occasional feature on his blog with practice tips from a recent judicial clerk from the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Even though I only handle appeals in Maryland state and federal courts, these tips apply to handling appeals in just about every jurisdiction.
For example, there is a tip about the placement and structure of arguments within the brief. Essentially, the advice is to lead with your strongest, most appealing arguments.
I intend to follow this recurring feature in Jay’s blog.
I’m sure it will feature lots more helpful tips.