Archives: Appellate Practice

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The Appellate Road Warrior: Essential Skills and Best Practices

D. Todd Smith
This is the fifth and final installment of my series on mobile lawyering for appellate practitioners. To easily access the entire series, click here. By this point, you should have the equipment and the software to get your work done from the road. This post discusses some special considerations for working efficiently and securely. Troubleshooting Tech … Continue Reading

The Appellate Road Warrior: Apps for Practicing From the Road

D. Todd Smith
This is the fourth installment in my series on practicing appellate law from the road. The others are available here. This post addresses methods for continuing your daily work without access to your office or laptop computer. Highlighted below are various apps that will help keep things moving. Microsoft Office As mentioned earlier in the series, … Continue Reading

The Appellate Road Warrior: Preparing for Mobile Lawyering

D. Todd Smith
This is the second post in my series on practicing appellate law from the road. The introductory post is available here. Effective mobile lawyering requires some up-front preparation. The hardware you’ll take with you is a threshold consideration. Basic Hardware A laptop, tablet, and smartphone are the key tools for practicing remotely. The hardware needed … Continue Reading

Introduction to the Appellate Road Warrior

D. Todd Smith
Think about what Texas appellate practice was like a decade ago. Courts required paper filings, and filing fees were paid by check. Appellate records existed only in paper form. Briefs had to be completed in time for the right number of copies to be made and either hand-delivered or dropped in the mail to ensure timely filing and … Continue Reading

An Evening with the Supreme Court of Texas

D. Todd Smith
The Appellate Sections of the Austin Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas are once again co-sponsoring “An Evening with the Supreme Court of Texas.” This event—which has been held biennially since 2008—will take place on Thursday, March 1, 2018, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel here in … Continue Reading

Sticky Fees

Jeff Nobles
If it seems to you that there are many more appeals of attorneys’ fees these days, you’re right. Appeals involving attorneys’ fees have risen steeply over the last seven years. There is something happening in this area of the law, and we need to be keeping up with it, because it is directly relevant to … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Jurisdiction, Part V: How Will Rule 56.1 Operate in the New Jurisdictional Landscape?

As lawyers, we love rules (and by “love” I mean memorize, apply, hopefully comply, argue, and at times strive to change them). We don’t, however, amend rules until they somehow fail or become obsolete. Granted, failure/obsolescence can be in the beholder’s eye and must present itself before we strive to change the rule. In light … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Jurisdiction, Part IV: Will Changes to Jurisdiction Necessitate a Change to Rule 53.2?

Sometimes the earth shifts along the ocean floor creating tsunamis that flood unsuspecting coastal areas. Sometimes the shifts amount to unnoticed ripples silently traveling alongside flowing waves. Like the quaking seabed, will the recent changes to the Texas Supreme Court’s jurisdiction lead to any amendments to the rules of appellate procedure? In Part II of … Continue Reading

Advocate v. Advisor: Estimating Likelihood of Success

Laura P. Haley
“We’re going to win,” a board-member announced, pointing at the application for a temporary restraining order, and looking around the room. Turning her gaze to me, she reiterated, “it says, ‘Plaintiff Will Likely Succeed on the Merits,’ and then you give a bunch of reasons why. That means we’ll win the case, right?” “From a … Continue Reading

Talking Legal Tech on New Solo

D. Todd Smith
Anyone familiar with me as a lawyer knows I have a penchant for legal technology. It’s a regular topic of discussion around here, particularly as it relates to modern-day appellate practice. I’m always looking for ways to implement legal tech and related tools to make things run more smoothly and efficiently in my firm and … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Jurisdiction, Part III: What’s Old May Be New in the Statutory Renovation

  As discussed in my previous two posts (here and here), the Texas Legislature has made significant changes to statutes demarcating the Texas Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. In what appears to be an effort to renovate, the legislature has done more than change the wallpaper. It has tried to simplify jurisdiction by applying the same jurisprudential-importance … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Jurisdiction, Part II: The Times They Are a-Changin’ (Or Are They?)

My previous blog post briefly outlined the Texas Supreme Court’s jurisdiction and the soon-to-be-effective legislative changes. As the title of these posts suggests, the next step is to examine the potential effects, if any, that these changes will have on courts, practitioners, and clients. Admittedly, by doing so, I tread into uncharted territory armed solely … Continue Reading

Properly Pleading Attorneys’ Fees in Suits Against Partnerships and LLCs to Avoid Zombie Litigation

Jeff Nobles
“Zombie litigation” broadly refers to cases that generate unending piecemeal litigation. Attorneys’ fees disputes often spawn zombie litigation—after the merits of the case have been decided but the lawyers continue to litigate and appeal whether and how they will get paid. Over the last 20 years, Texas appellate courts have crafted new tools to help … Continue Reading

It’s Alive! Revive Your Dead Motions and Defend a Favorable Judgment With a Proper Appeal

While relatively short, a recent Third Court of Appeals memorandum decision is rife with lessons for attorneys defending favorable summary judgments made on superseded motions. The dispute in Larivee v. Louis meant to center on tenant-landlord issues concerning a carpet’s condition. Unfortunately, especially for the appellant, the case’s procedural posture forced the Third Court to focus … Continue Reading

How Dependent on Instant Online Data Access Are We?

D. Todd Smith
Try accessing any number of court-related websites right now, and you may be diverted to the following landing page: A Tuesday evening power outage took down Office of Court Administration servers, and OCA has had difficulty bringing them back up. Meanwhile, scores of lawyers across the state went into panic as they were unable to instantly … Continue Reading

Demystifying Appellate Law on The Law Entrepreneur

D. Todd Smith
Solo and small firm lawyers, if you’re into podcasts and haven’t checked out The Law Entrepreneur, you should. Maryland lawyer Neil Tyra has put together 69 episodes (so far) of great conversation with lawyers, tech consultants, and other professionals offering insight into the entrepreneurial side of modern-day law practice. The main reason I know exactly how … Continue Reading

An Evening with the Third Court of Appeals, 2017 Edition

Yesterday, the Austin Bar Association’s Civil Appellate Law Section hosted a program entitled “An Evening with the Third Court of Appeals” at Austin’s InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel. My firm, Smith Law Group, was among the event’s sponsors. This event was a natural sequel to the well-received peek behind the proverbial curtain when the Court, months … Continue Reading

[Tap…Tap…Tap] Is This Thing On?

D. Todd Smith
After a decade of blogging, I’m still amazed how one simple post can spin off new opportunities. Back in November, I wrote about how I’m using my iPad Pro during oral arguments. As a direct result of that post, I was: featured on iPhone JD (a site I highly recommend to anyone using iPhones or iPads in their … Continue Reading

Bench Bar Beyond: The Future is Now

D. Todd Smith
The Austin Bar Association is accepting registrations for Bench Bar Beyond, its annual conference with the local judiciary. As the name and artwork suggest, the theme this year is futuristic; attendees are invited to explore topics and current trends in the legal profession that will impact our future as lawyers. I’m slated to moderate two … Continue Reading

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Formal Bills of Exception

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 … Continue Reading
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