Archives: Oral Argument

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Mardi Gras or Not: When in New Orleans for Oral Argument, Where Should I Stay and Eat?

With Fat Tuesday having passed, the timing seems right to consider lodging and restaurant recommendations for those who occasionally venture to New Orleans for Fifth Circuit oral arguments. When I asked the 607 members of the Texas Appellate Law LinkedIn Group about their preferences, the response was overwhelming. The information was so helpful that I couldn’t … Continue Reading

How to Handle Cross-Appeals

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

Some Appellate Judicial Wisdom in 140-Character Bites

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

How Not to Handle Oral Argument

I recently promised a little humor, so here you go. In this video, produced for the Advanced Appellate Seminar put on last week by the State Bar Appellate Section and TexasBarCLE, Houston appellate lawyer David Holman demonstrates a number of things counsel should not do during oral argument.  The video was part of an "ethics … Continue Reading

SCOTX Heading to the Valley

I am looking forward to attending the Hidalgo County Bar Association’s “An Evening with the Texas Supreme Court” event next Wednesday, March 2, at The Club at Cimarron in Mission, Texas.  Through the efforts of HCBA President-Elect Brandy Wingate, Smith Law Group is among the firms helping to sponsor this event, which will include a … Continue Reading

Be Careful What You Wish For

Regular followers of this blog know that I’m a fan of oral argument.  The challenge of synthesizing facts and law into a concise, well written brief is one thing—some say the main thing—but there’s nothing quite like standing before a row of appellate judges and defending the positions you’re taking on your client’s behalf. So, … Continue Reading

More Oral Arguments?

As I prepare for an oral argument tomorrow, I came across this article from Texas Lawyer reporting that the intermediate appellate courts are granting argument in more cases.  That’s welcome news, if it holds up. The article quotes incoming Third Court Chief Justice Woodie Jones as supporting a default position that the Court should grant oral argument.  … Continue Reading

Oral Argument Rituals

Over at, Carolyn Elefant has posted on some of the things she does to prepare for oral argument and has solicited others’ stories.  Here is what I told her: I don’t have what I would consider to be rituals or superstitions. It’s more of a process. I generally go back and read all the briefs and important … Continue Reading

Statistics I’d Like to See

As I ponder yet another case in which the court of appeals has declined to hear oral argument, I’m wondering whether anyone has compiled statistics on how often the trial court’s judgment is reversed in that situation.  In other words, based on sheer numbers, should we be telling our appellant-clients that they’re probably hosed if oral argument has … Continue Reading

Some Third Court Practice Tips

As discussed previously, Third Court of Appeals Justice Diane Henson spoke to the Austin Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm Section last week.  With her permission, I am posting a copy of her handout here. Justice Henson gave a useful overview of how the Third Court conducts its business and offered some helpful briefing and oral-argument tips.  One thing I learned was that the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rolling Out New Digitization Projects

Even before the Texas Supreme Court began live webcasting oral arguments and archiving recent arguments last year (previously discussed here and here), the Court had ditched its old system of recording oral argument on audio cassette tapes.  Digital audio files from oral arguments dating back to 2004 are available through the Oral Argument Audio link on the Court’s website.  Now, … Continue Reading

Recap of Fifth Circuit En Banc Arguments

Over at the relatively new Bartlett Blog, Tad Bartlett provides a blow-by-blow of the recent Fifth Circuit en banc arguments, including the In re Volkswagen venue case that’s generating a lot of discussion these days because it threatens the Marshall “rocket docket.” (See the recent discussion in Texas Lawyer and at the WSJ Law Blog.)  … Continue Reading

Why I Love Oral Argument

As mentioned in my last post, I’ve been tied up getting ready for an oral argument I had today before the Third Court of Appeals here in Austin.  The case is not the kind you would usually get that excited about, but we have a couple of good legal issues, and it got a fair amount of … Continue Reading

Preparing for Argument

I am preparing for an oral argument tomorrow, which explains my silence on a number of issues worthy of commentary, including media coverage of the Perry Homes v. Cull decision and Ted Cruz’s new position at Morgan Lewis.  The Supreme Court of Texas Blog  and others have covered these issues well.  I’ll get back to more regular posting soon.… Continue Reading

Third Court Cancels FLDS Oral Argument

By this order, the Third Court of Appeals has canceled the oral argument on the application for emergency stay in In re Sara Steed, et al. (No. 03-08-00235-CV) and has summarily denied the stay.  The court also denied the stay sought in the companion case, In re Faithann Jessop, et al. (No. 03-08-00236-CV). Before you rush to criticize this decision, consider … Continue Reading

Third Court Oral Argument Call-Out

What does one have to do to get a case set for oral argument before the Third Court of Appeals?  It’s a rhetorical question I’ve heard others ask recently. Early last year, I discussed the perception that oral argument in Texas appellate practice is dying a slow death.  I asked how appellate practitioners are supposed to … Continue Reading

Fourth Court, Only Two Webcasts for You!

If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.  So it goes with the notion that the Fourth Court of Appeals would begin regularly webcasting oral arguments through the St. Mary’s Law School web site. According to the Tex Parte Blog, the Fourth Court will hear two cases tomorrow on the St. Mary’s campus.  … Continue Reading

Fourth Court to Begin Live Webcasts

Although I haven’t seen an official announcement (or any publicity whatsoever), it looks as if the Fourth Court of Appeals will begin webcasting oral arguments through the St. Mary’s University web site on March 5, 2008. The Fourth Court would be the logical choice for expanding the webcasting program, considering that St. Mary’s (also in … Continue Reading

Avoid Reading to the Appellate Court

Today’s post at the Illinois Trial Practice Weblog contains a useful tip that’s worth a mention here:  Never read your argument when appearing before an appellate court.  Not only is it bad form, but it also hinders your ability to respond to questions or address the points your opponent makes.  The post lays out an … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Orders 9/21/07

The Texas Supreme Court issued no opinions with today’s orders.  Interestingly, the Court denied the motion to recuse filed in In re Columbia Medical Center, Subsidiary, L.P. (No. 06-0416) (previously discussed here and  here), which reportedly had been set for oral argument with the mandamus petition next Thursday. UPDATE: The Court’s spokesman, Osler McCarthy, has confirmed … Continue Reading