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As Summer Ends, a New Appellate Season Begins

With the sun setting on summer, early September is shaping up to be a busy time for Texas appellate practitioners and court watchers. Texas Supreme Court Returns from Summer Recess Although the Texas Supreme Court will issue orders every Friday in August and hold conference late in the month, it is caught up on opinions … Continue Reading

Appellate Practice and Procedure Course to Be Released Online

Back in 2009, I agreed to teach Appellate Practice and Procedure at Solo Practice University, a web-based educational and professional networking community where faculty from across the country teach lawyers and law students how to practice law. I then planned and self-produced a series of eight video lectures, which remain available at SPU with a … Continue Reading

Chief Justices Rose and Marion Take Office

Two Texas intermediate appellate courts have begun the new year under new leadership from judges whom the voters elevated from other positions on those courts. Jeff Rose (pictured) has taken the oath as Chief Justice of Austin’s Third Court of Appeals, and Sandee Bryan Marion has now assumed her duties as Chief Justice of San … Continue Reading

Celebrating Chief Justice Woodie Jones

The Austin Bar Association Civil Appellate Law Section, along with several law-firm sponsors (including Smith Law Group, P.C.), is hosting a retirement reception for Third Court of Appeals Chief Justice Woodie Jones on Thursday, December 11, 2014, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Headliners Club. As many Austin-area readers know, Chief Justice Jones is winding … Continue Reading

State Bar Appellate Section Launches Redesigned Website

As co-chair of the State Bar of Texas Appellate Section’s Website Committee, I am pleased to share that the Section’s completely revamped website is now live at The redesigned site allows visitors easy access to information about the Appellate Section, including the latest news and upcoming events, a searchable membership directory, and details about … Continue Reading

Appellate Sections Once Again Co-Sponsoring SCOTX Event

The Appellate Sections of the State Bar of Texas and the Austin Bar Association are co-sponsoring a program entitled “An Evening with the Texas Supreme Court.” This event—previously held in 2008, 2010, and 2012—will take place on Thursday, April 17, 2014, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel here in … Continue Reading

Brown Appointed to Fill Hecht’s SCOTX Seat

Governor Perry has appointed Fourteenth Court of Appeals Justice Jeff Brown (pictured) to fill the seat being vacated by Justice Nathan Hecht, who in turn is replacing departing Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson. All of these moves officially become effective on October 1, 2013. Brown began his career clerking for Supreme Court Justice Jack Hightower, then … Continue Reading

Justice Jack Hightower, 1926-2013

Texas lost another legal giant today with the death of retired Texas Supreme Court Justice Jack Hightower. The Court’s official announcement, courtesy of Osler McCarthy, appears here. I was a brand-new law clerk—a position then known as “briefing attorney”—during Justice Hightower’s last few months on the bench. SCOTX is one of the few high courts … Continue Reading

Ralph H. Brock, 1948-2013

I was saddened to learn that Ralph Brock—the first chair of the State Bar Appellate Section and one of my predecessors as editor of The Appellate Advocate—passed away on July 14, 2013. Ralph was extremely personable and was in many ways ahead of his time. In recent years, he served as chair of the State Bar … Continue Reading

Upcoming CLE Presentation on IP Appeals

At its March 21, 2013 luncheon meeting, the Austin Bar Civil Appellate Law Section is sponsoring a CLE panel entitled “Fundamentals of Patent Litigation and Appeals.” The panel will consist of moderator Bill Schuurman, Alan Albright, Amber Rovner, and Sheila Kadura. The event will take place at Green Pastures, 811 West Live Oak Street. Registration begins … Continue Reading

Your Trial Is Over—Now What?

Per the announcement pasted below, TexasBarCLE has opened registration for a live webinar that Amanda Taylor and I will present next week. This program will be “studio produced” and shot at the Texas Law Center, which will be a new experience for me. If you’re interested but can’t watch live, the presentation will be archived … Continue Reading

Governor Perry Appoints Boyd to Supreme Court

Governor Perry has announced the appointment of Jeffrey S. Boyd (pictured) to fill the Texas Supreme Court seat vacated by former Justice Dale Wainwright. The official press release is available here. Boyd currently serves as the Governor’s chief of staff and is the Governor’s former general counsel. He was a partner in the Austin office … Continue Reading

Smith Law Group Welcomes Maitreya Tomlinson

Six years have passed since I left the big firm to establish my own practice. Over that time, we have added a full-time assistant, a part-time administrator, a second lawyer (Brandy Wingate), and a second office in the Rio Grande Valley. Today, I am happy to announce that Maitreya Tomlinson (pictured) has joined Smith Law … Continue Reading

You Have a Verdict — Now What?

On Monday, May 21, 2012, Austin appellate lawyer Amanda Taylor and I will be giving a talk entitled “You Have a Verdict—Now What?” to the Austin Bar Civil Litigation Section.  The program will begin at noon in the ABA seminar room.  To RSVP, contact Lois Gardner at (512) 476-1080 or The discussion will focus … Continue Reading

An Evening with the Texas Supreme Court v.3.0

In what has become a biennial event, the Appellate Sections of the State Bar of Texas and the Austin Bar Association are sponsoring a program entitled “An Evening with the Texas Supreme Court” on Thursday, April 26, 2012, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel here in Austin. CLE credit … Continue Reading

Solo/Small Firm Section CLE Set for 2/23

As immediate past chair of the Austin Bar Association Solo/Small Firm Section, my main responsibility is to organize and run a half-day CLE program the Section puts on each year.  We have put together what I think will be an outstanding program that will educate attendees on a number of subjects relevant to solos and small … Continue Reading

Austin Appellate Section to Host Chief Justices on January 19

The Austin Bar Association’s Civil Appellate Law Section will kick off the new year with a special program featuring chief justices from several of the fourteen intermediate state courts of appeals.  The luncheon meeting, which will take place at noon on January 19, 2012 at Green Pastures, will include the following lineup:   Moderator: Chief … Continue Reading

Happy 2012!

Ringing in the new year takes us to another milestone—the fifth anniversary of this blog’s launch.  Year-end has been a natural time to re-evaluate, re-assess, and plan for the next twelve months. Last January 1, I announced that Brandy Wingate had joined my firm, @Smith Law Group, and we are enjoying what she has added … Continue Reading

Results of the Twitter Brief Contest

As I wrote about here, the State Bar Appellate Section sponsored a Twitter brief contest in conjunction with the recent Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course in Austin.  The winners were announced during the Section’s annual meeting. The official PowerPoint containing the winning entries and several honorable mentions is embedded below for everyone’s enjoyment. I intend … Continue Reading

Networking Group for Appellate Lawyers and In-House Counsel

After attempting to start some discussions on the LinkedIn Appellate Lawyer Network, I’ve concluded the group is useless. My posts aren’t being accepted, and what’s made the cut doesn’t involve anything specific to appellate practice. In fact, the list seems like just another place for self-declared “marketing experts” or “social media gurus” to ply their … Continue Reading