Course Details

Appellate Advocacy

Appellate Advocacy is an advanced course that teaches the substance of appellate practice and process and develops students' skills and judgment as appellate writers and oral advocates. Students will pursue a simulated appeal as the primary pedagogical device, applying core doctrines of appellate review and learning the dynamics of bringing an appeal and how to frame winning issues and arguments. Students will also hone their writing and analytical skills, preparing several pieces of work product that an appellate lawyer would create in the course of pursuing an appeal. Students' work will culminate in a final appellate brief and oral argument. The course's primary goal is to prepare students to be effective appellate lawyers, whether in a clinic, law firm, or other practice setting. As such, the course is demanding, imposes multiple, tight deadlines, and places high value on students ability to work independently. As the payoff, students will gain a strong understanding of major appellate advocacy concepts and the roles of appellate courts and lawyers, as well as more sophisticated skills in case assessment, creative thinking, the writing process, the structure and rhetoric of legal argument, and persuasive writing at the sentence level. Students who complete this course will also be well-prepared for moot court competitions. Overview of Class: Appellate Advocacy is a problem-based simulation course that emphasizes active learning and lively classroom exchanges and thrives on each student¿s committed, frank participation. Class sessions will be a mixture of short, interactive lectures on conceptual and substantive topics; exercises and workshops focusing on a particular skill or concept; peer review of work product; and "practice spotlights" examining the craft of professional appellate advocates. We will also use the Google Sites platform to share work product and research materials with each other. After you are introduced to core concepts of appellate advocacy and procedure in the first few class sessions, you will embark on a simulated appeal to apply and engage deeply with those concepts. You will work on portions of the appeal collaboratively, much as you would in a clinic setting. Other aspects of the appeal will require you to work independently. In addition to completing the course's formal written and oral assignments, you will occasionally be assigned short, discrete research or analysis projects related to the appeal requiring a quick turnaround time. These projects are designed both to advance the appeal and to mimic a real-life clinic or law office experience. From time to time, I will also post appellate briefs for you to review for our "practice spotlight" classroom analysis. Enrollment is limited to JD, JD-MBA and AJD candidates. This course fulfills the 3-draft writing requirement. Learning Objectives: To understand major appellate review and advocacy concepts: o Structure and workload of appellate courts o Scope of review (issue preservation and waiver) o Standard of review o Appellate jurisdiction o Dynamics of bringing an appeal To understand the role and develop the skills of an appellate lawyer through simulation: o Understand the appellate judicial audience o Assess a record for appealable issues o Strategize about issue selection o Develop a coherent theory of the case o Determine strengths and weaknesses of the case o Learn to dig deep and think creatively, not quit without fully exhausting options o Research the court and its judicial predilections o Understand and apply rules governing briefs and argument o Work in teams to improve a product o Prepare to work in an appellate or Supreme Court clinic o Understand professionalism at the appellate level To become more effective at written and oral advocacy and argumentation: o Develop an effective and deliberate writing process o Internalize classical rhetorical concepts o Learn theories of persuasion o Become well-versed in types of legal argument o Become sophisticated in using facts and authorities and in handling weaknesses o Understand effective brief-writing organizational paradigms o Write with clarity, concision, accuracy, and precision o Write to persuade o Develop strong self-editing skills o Learn the principles of effective oral argument o Develop your own oral argument style Teaching Method: Class Participation, Demonstrations, Discussion, Films/Videos, Group Work, Guest Speakers, Lecture, Observation, Online work, Presentations (Final oral argument before judging panel), Problem sets, Readings, Research project (As part of writing assignments), Simulation/role-play, Writing Assignments (Several writing assignments). Evaluation Method: Students will be assessed on the quality of their written submissions and oral argument, and their class participation, including completion of ungraded work. Attendance Class Participation Presentations (Final Oral Argument) Writing Assignments Class Materials: Required: Michael R. Fontham et al., Persuasive Written and Oral Advocacy in Trial and Appellate Courts (3rd ed. 2013) (ISBN # 9781454811138) The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (19th ed. 2010) (ISBN # 9780615361161) Suggested: Richard C. Wydick, Plain English for Lawyers (5th ed. 2005) (ISBN # 9781594601514)

Catalog Number: LITARB 621
Practice Areas: Civil Lit. and Dispute ResolutionConstitutional LawConstitutional Law & ProcedureLegal Skills Development


Course History

Spring 2017
Title: Appellate Advocacy
Faculty: Provenzano, Susan E. (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 16     Actual: 13

Spring 2016
Title: Appellate Advocacy
Faculty: Provenzano, Susan E. (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 16     Actual: 14

Spring 2015
Title: Appellate Advocacy
Faculty: Provenzano, Susan E. (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 16     Actual: 16