Header graphic for print
Texas Appellate Law Blog Civil Appellate Practice Tips, Resources, and News

Category Archives: Appellate Practice

Subscribe to Appellate Practice RSS Feed

What Notice Is Required When a Summary-Judgment Hearing Is Re-set?

Posted in Appellate Practice, Courts of Appeals, Motions, Procedure

Texas litigators are generally familiar with the TRCP 166a requirement that a motion for summary judgment be served at least 21 days before the date specified for a hearing. But what notice is required when the hearing does not go forward on the originally noticed date? If the nonmovant received the required 21-day notice before… Continue Reading

Registration Open for 28th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course

Posted in Appellate Practice

The State Bar Appellate Section and Texas Bar CLE are co-sponsoring the 28th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course, which will take place September 4-5, 2014 here in Austin.  Related events are the popular Civil Appellate Practice 101 course on September 3 and the Section’s annual meeting on September 4, to be followed by a reception honoring the judiciary…. Continue Reading

SCOTX: Postjudgment Interest—All Accrual Dates Are Not Created Equal

Posted in Appellate Practice, Opinions & Judgments, Procedure, Supreme Court Orders, Texas Supreme Court, Trial Courts

Statutes that appear clear are oft fraught with unanswered questions. This is unsurprising, as drafters cannot anticipate every scenario when crafting legislation. Falling into that vein, last week, the Texas Supreme Court decided a previously unaddressed question regarding the accrual date of postjudgment interest under the Texas Finance Code. In Long v. Castle Texas Production… Continue Reading

How to Handle Cross-Appeals

Posted in Appellate Practice, Articles, Briefs, Fifth Circuit, Oral Argument, Procedure, Texas Supreme Court

Yesterday afternoon, I spoke at the Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course, an annual program sponsored by TexasBarCLE and the State Bar Appellate Section. My topic was “How to Handle Cross-Appeals.” I promised the attendees that I would make my paper and slides available over the web. Clicking the links should open each one in a… Continue Reading

What Do “The Last Days of Big Law” Mean for Boutique Firms?

Posted in Appellate Practice

Noam Scheiber’s recent New Republic article, “The Last Days of Big Law,” has been buzzing over my social media stream for the past week or so. It’s a pretty sobering read, although it hasn’t gone uncriticized. For example, in “Don’t Bury Big Law Just Yet,” The American Lawyer‘s Robin Sparkman wrote that “[r]umors of [the giant law… Continue Reading

SCOTX: Attorney Fees Need Not Be Superseded on Appeal

Posted in Appellate Practice, Opinions & Judgments, Supersedeas, Supreme Court Orders, Texas Supreme Court

In November 2011, I posted about whether attorney fees must be superseded to stay execution of a judgment pending appeal. Today, in In re Nalle Plastics Family Limited Partnership (No. 11-0903), the Texas Supreme Court resolved a split among the intermediate courts of appeals and answered the question, “No.” Let me set the stage a… Continue Reading

Principled Appellate Decisions

Posted in Appellate Practice, Opinions & Judgments, Procedure, Standards of Review, Uncategorized

Yesterday afternoon, I gave a one-hour presentation to a group of 11 intermediate appellate justices on the topic of “Principled Appellate Decisions.” The presentation was part of the Texas College for Judicial Studies, a program providing educational opportunities to judges who desire to improve their adjudication skills and acquire specific training in their jurisdictional specialization. My… Continue Reading

SCOTX Fixes Word-Count Glitches

Posted in Appellate Practice, Procedure, Supreme Court Orders, Texas Supreme Court

The Texas Supreme Court has issued an order correcting some of its recent amendments to the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. The most notable correction involves the certificate-of-compliance requirement regarding the new word count limits previously discussed here, here, and here. By adding the language underlined below, the Court has made clear that no certificate… Continue Reading

To Cite or Not to Cite: Do Unpublished Opinions Have Precedential Value?

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs

I recall discovering my first unpublished case as a law student when interning for an intermediate appellate court justice. Strangely, a legend accompanied the opinion disclaiming precedential value, which seemed odd considering that the opinion was written and accessible through my legal database. Around the same time, I encountered my first memorandum opinion with its… Continue Reading

Your Trial Is Over—Now What?

Posted in Announcements, Appellate Practice

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

Some Appellate Judicial Wisdom in 140-Character Bites

Posted in Appellate Practice, Fifth Circuit, Oral Argument, Procedure, Texas Supreme Court

Over the past week, I have attended two CLE events featuring a panel of appellate judges. At the 29th Annual Litigation Update Institute, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, Justice Paul Green, and Justice Debra Lehrmann enlightened attendees on current events at the Texas Supreme Court.  Today, Fifth Circuit Judges Pete Benavides and Pricilla Owen and U.S…. Continue Reading

An Unopposed Briefing Extension Request Will Be Granted, Right?

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Procedure

Appellate work is very time- and labor-intensive. Because it’s difficult to work on more than one matter at a time, appellate lawyers often rely on extensions of briefing deadlines to manage workloads. Texas appellate courts are usually very generous about granting such extensions, particularly when they are unopposed. So I’m sure appellant’s counsel was surprised… Continue Reading

Crafting a TRAP 9.4(i)(3) Certificate of Compliance

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Procedure, Texas Supreme Court

As promised yesterday, this post will cover what a certificate of compliance under the new word-count rules might look like, now that every computer-generated document filed in a Texas appellate court on or after December 1, 2012—yes, every one, except for the record—must include such a certificate. The new rules provide the logical starting place…. Continue Reading

Word-Count Rules Going Into Effect December 1

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Procedure, Technology, Texas Supreme Court

A trial lawyer poses the following question: Do you know for sure whether the new appellate rules are going into effect December 1? Any thoughts on whether an appeal filed on November 29 (but not actually due until December 3) should maintain the old format or use the new rule? Per this Texas Supreme Court… Continue Reading

What Happens in the Event of a Evenly Split SCOTX Vote?

Posted in Appellate Practice, Texas Supreme Court

Justice Wainwright’s recent departure from the Texas Supreme Court has raised an interesting question.  As presented to me by a colleague, it goes like this: Without Justice Wainwright, what happens if the Court is split 4-4? Do they just have to fight over it until someone gives in to reach a majority? My initial thought… Continue Reading

Statistics I’d Like to See

Posted in Appellate Practice, Court Administration, Courts of Appeals

Like sportswriters and weathercasters, appellate lawyers are constantly asked to make predictions. Just about every potential appellant who who contacts our firm (directly or through their trial counsel) has three basic questions: How much is this going to cost? How long is it going to take? What are my chances of changing the result? Cost… Continue Reading

SCOTX Adopts Word-Count Rule

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Petition for Review, Procedure, Technology

The Texas Supreme Court has issued an order incorporating word counts into the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. The order amends Rules 9, 38, 49, 52, 53, 55, 64, 68, 70, and 71. Some highlights of the amendments include (for computer-generated briefs in civil cases): a minimum 14-point font (12-point for footnotes); a 15,000-word limit… Continue Reading

Smith Law Group Welcomes Maitreya Tomlinson

Posted in Announcements, Appellate Practice

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

Uniform Docketing Statement Released

Posted in Appellate Practice, Procedure

I was so preoccupied with last week’s State Bar Annual Meeting that I overlooked a significant development relevant to Texas appellate practitioners: the release of a uniform docketing statement for the intermediate courts of appeals. View the official announcement here. A docketing statement is an administrative tool used to collect and provide the court of… Continue Reading

Lone Star Lawyers Converging on Houston for SBOT12

Posted in Appellate Practice, Briefs, Procedure, Technology

I will soon be departing for Houston to attend the 2012 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting.  This will be my third straight year to attend and my second year as a presenter. On Thursday, as part of the Computer and Technology Section’s “Adaptable Lawyer” track, Don Cruse and I will give a talk entitled… Continue Reading

Video of SCOTX CLE Event Now Online

Posted in Appellate Practice, Technology

Thanks to the efforts of Texas Supreme Court Clerk and Austin Bar Civil Appellate Law Section Council member Blake Hawthorne, video of the recent “Evening with the Texas Supreme Court” event is now available for viewing through the Court’s webcast page. I was honored to moderate this discussion as chair of the ABA Section and… Continue Reading