Appellate lawyers are the legal equivalent of a parent that you call to help navigate life’s uncertainties. In action, this means that appellate lawyers receive phone calls regarding obscure areas of law or rarely utilized procedures. The parent comparison suffers in that, unlike answering many parental questions, even well-seasoned appellate lawyers may have to research the question more deeply before dispensing advice. But either way, as parents or appellate lawyers, we know our input is important and we try to provide the best answer that we can.
Bill of Exception v. Offer of Proof
In that vein, lawyers have recently contacted me to ask about filing formal bills of exception. A formal bill of exception is a procedural device contained in Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 33.2. Like offers of proof, the Rule helps parties preserve, and demonstrate, harmful error by allowing them to supplement the record. Unlike offers of proof, parties file formal bills of exception when their trials are completed. After studying Rule 33.2 and making numerous inquiries, I realized that many lawyers have never filed a formal bill of exception. I also realized that many commentators merely recite the Rule’s language without discussing any gray areas or supplying insight into the Rule’s contours. Naturally, because many have not utilized Rule 33.2 and that the Rule’s plain language does not provide all the answers, there appears to be some confusion regarding formal bills of exception. Continue Reading