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New Orleans, Louisiana, Earth
Civil appellate lawyer
Interests: Blues
Recent Activity
Our friends at Legal Writing Prof Blog report some sad news: the death of Richard Wydick. He was a renowned law professor and author. His classic, Plain English for Lawyers, was, for many of us, our introduction to good legal... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at the (new) legal writer
This morning I was privileged to present a one-hour session on appellate practice for the Louisiana state Bar Association’s Bridging the Gap seminar, a program designed for newly sworn-in lawyers. For those who attended, and anyone else who may be interested, here are PDF copies of my presentation and my... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
In an appeal, the court reporter can (and often does) request an extension of the return date if the reporter needs more time to complete the transcript. See La. Code Civ. P. art. 2127.2. But what if the transcript is needed for a supervisory-writ application, and the court reporter is... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
The 2015 edition of the Louisiana Supreme Court’s Annual Report is available on the court’s web site. It is full of statistics useful to appellate lawyers, such as the writ-grant rates in each Louisiana appellate court and numbers of rehearing applications filed and granted. I recommend that you download a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Writers and editors often struggle over whether to insert or delete a comma. Often the choice depends, not on rules, but on what you are trying to say. For example, tonight on a social medium, I shared a post about... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2016 at the (new) legal writer
Here is the useful and beautifully done Punctuation Guide, by Jordan Penn, J.D. (Hat tip to Roy Jacobsen.) Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2016 at the (new) legal writer
A recent decision by the Louisiana Fifth Circuit provides a hard lesson in appellate procedure. The lesson: When the clerk of court mails notice of final judgment, the appeal clock is ticking. Neither a request nor an appellate court’s order to provide written reasons for judgment stops the clock. The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
If you ever have the need to research the background of U.S. Fifth Circuit judges, check out Ballotpedia’s page on the U.S. Fifth Circuit. There, you will find links to pages on each judge, which in turn contain links to any online information about that judge. Ballotpedia also has a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Before you can appeal, you need an appealable judgment. That is the lesson of two recent cases, one from the Louisiana Fourth Circuit, the other from the U.S. Fifth Circuit. Each provides a lesson in appellate jurisdiction. In Tsegaye v. City of New Orleans, 2015-0676 (La. App. 4 Cir. 12/18/15),... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
I was recently reminded of an amendment to La. Civ. Code art. 966, effective January 1, 2016, that will affect applications for supervisory writs to review denials of summary judgment. Under art. 966(H), before reversing the denial of a summary judgment and granting summary judgment to dismiss a case or... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Does the case you’re briefing have complicated facts? Roy Peter Clark offers 10 tips that will help you make your statement of facts easier for the judges to understand. Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
What is the serial comma, also known as the Oxford comma? Why should you use it? The Comma Queen has the answers. Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2016 at the (new) legal writer
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a defendant convicted of robbery and aggravated assault wins his appeal because the trial court, in instructing the jury, repeatedly used the phrase and/or to describe the elements of the crimes. State v.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at the (new) legal writer
Listen to my rap ’Bout Strunk & White And your writing will be phat And your prose will be tight. Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2016 at the (new) legal writer
If you plan to apply this year to the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization for certification in appellate law, listen up. One thing you’ll need is 18 hours of appellate CLE. And one place to get a good chunk of those hours (11.75 by my count) is the upcoming DRI... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Some political scientists recently published a study on the use of emotional language in briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. After controlling for a variety of factors, they concluded that overtly emotional language correlates to losing the case. Here’s an excerpt from the abstract: We argue emotional language conveys... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
The latest issue of the Louisiana Bar Journal includes a profile of La. Supreme Court Justice Greg Guidry. If you already threw your copy away, no problem: just follow this link. Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Most appellate courts have rules limiting the number of pages or words in a brief. When a brief is a bit too long, lawyer-editors have a number of techniques for making the brief fit the applicable limit. Some are good. Others are not so good. An example of the latter... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
A couple of days before Christmas, the Louisiana First Circuit gave a lesson in what not to do when seeking to file an amicus curiae brief. In Barfield v. Bolotte, 2015-0847 (La. App. 1 Cir. 12/23/15), the First Circuit denied a would-be amicus’s motion for leave to file a brief.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2016 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
So the good folks at Lake Superior State University have published their 41st annual list of banished words. So guess which word is # 1. Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2015 at the (new) legal writer
If you plan to apply to the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization in 2016 for certification as an appellate specialist, one of the things you’ll need is 18 hours of CLE in 2016 in the area of appellate practice. A likely place to pick up some of those hours will... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Something I noticed today while waiting for oral argument to start in the U.S. Fifth Circuit’s en banc courtroom: the carvings on the ceiling. The next time you’re in that courtroom, don’t forget to look up. (But not while your case is being argued.) Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Bryan Garner has some good tips on what to do and not do when applying for rehearing. The skinny version: put your anger on hold, and be as courteous and respectful as you can stand to be. Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
When the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were first promulgated in 1937, they came with an appendix of forms. According to Rule 84, “The forms in the Appendix suffice[d] under these rules and illustrate[d] the simplicity and brevity that these... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2015 at the (new) legal writer
The John Minor Wisdom Courthouse, home of the U.S. Fifth Circuit, is a cathedral. Anyone who has ever been inside of it has been awed. Any lawyer who has stood at the lectern in one of its three courtrooms has been humbled. Today, many people probably don’t know the history... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2015 at Louisiana Civil Appeals