Archives: Appellate Practice

Subscribe to Appellate Practice RSS Feed

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

Maitreya Tomlinson
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?

Maitreya Tomlinson
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

Maitreya Tomlinson
  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?)

Maitreya Tomlinson
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

Maitreya Tomlinson
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

Maitreya Tomlinson
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

Maitreya Tomlinson
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

More on iPads and Appellate Arguments

D. Todd Smith
Happy New Year! After seeing my recent post on how I’m using my iPad Pro for appellate arguments, the good folks at the Texas Bar Journal asked if I’d like to publish a version of it in print. That version appears in the just-released January issue, an electronic copy of which is available here. I’ve since … Continue Reading

Demanding a Recount: Appealing Election Challenges

Maitreya Tomlinson
The recent election reminded me of a brush that I had with election-related appeals. A few years ago, I fervently drafted a brief in a primary-contest appeal under a looming deadline. As I neared completion, my pregnant wife called to inform me that she was in labor. No problem, right? I’ll get the deadline extended. … Continue Reading

Election 2016: Some New Faces on Texas Appellate Courts

D. Todd Smith
As in recent cycles, Republican incumbents and open-seat candidates for Texas appellate benches generally fared well in the 2016 general election. South Texas was the notable exception. The election will not change the Texas Supreme Court’s composition—at least not directly—as incumbent Justices Paul Green, Eva Guzman, and Debra Lehrmann all retained their seats. Donald Trump’s … Continue Reading

How I’m Using My iPad Pro for Appellate Arguments

D. Todd Smith
I just completed my second Fifth Circuit argument using my big iPad Pro in a more prominent role than ever before. Inspired by Jeff Richardson’s post about how he used an iPad to prepare for and present an appellate argument, I thought I’d share how I’ve integrated the device into my preparation and presentation strategy. Documents … Continue Reading

Getting the Scoop on Calculating Texas Appellate Deadlines

Maitreya Tomlinson
Appellate lawyers share some job-related realities with journalists, namely running up against deadlines. Although attorneys don’t rush to finish stories before a midnight printing, we do have to meet filing deadlines to seek relief from erroneous trial-court or intermediate-appellate court decisions. Knowing those deadlines (and how they are calculated) is paramount to correctly perfecting appeals. … Continue Reading

Second Bites at the Summary-Judgment Apple (Part II)

Laura P. Haley
In my last post, I addressed the significance of the burden in framing your response to a motion for summary judgment and in your appeal from an adverse summary judgment. In this post, I address getting your evidence in the record and keeping the other side’s out, amending your petition, and filing an appeal from … Continue Reading

Second Bites at the Summary-Judgment Apple (Part I)

Laura P. Haley
All litigators file or respond to dispositive motions, including motions for summary judgment. Dispositive motions are an opportunity for trial attorneys to implement their trial strategy, using the facts in their cases to gain a tactical advantage, whether by eliminating claims or defenses, educating the judge, or poisoning the well. But dispositive motions also require … Continue Reading
LexBlog