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New Orleans, Louisiana, Earth
Civil appellate lawyer
Interests: Blues
Recent Activity
A couple of days ago, I gave my semi-annual presentation on appellate practice at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Bridging the Gap seminar for new lawyers. My written materials (PDF copy here) include nuts-and-bolts stuff for handling appeals and writ applications in the Louisiana appellate courts. My slide presentation (PDF... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2022 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
I just finished giving a presentation for the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Jazz Fest seminar. The seminar theme was powerful writing. My presentation focused on use of grammatical structures to either focus or deflect attention on someone or something. For anyone interested in that sort of thing (and who isn’t?),... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2022 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
For anyone who doesn’t already know (like me until a few minutes ago), the Louisiana Third Circuit now has e-filing. To register, follow this link and click where it says “create an account.” To read the court’s e-filing rules, follow this link. Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2022 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Today the Louisiana Supreme Court reinstated an appeal that had been dismissed for untimeliness. Schiff v. Pugh, 2022-OC-210 (La. 4/12/22). The issue was doubt over either the date or adequacy of the notice of judgment. Here’s what happened: In a legal-malpractice case, the trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2022 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
The next issue of the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing will include one of my contributions: Will I Ever See the Day When Lawyers Write without Clichés? The article examines clichés as a species of metaphor and shows how clichéd writing can be both an effect and a cause of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2022 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
(Cross-posted on the New Orleans Bar Association’s web site.) One of the liveliest debates among brief-writing nerds is whether to put citations in text or in footnotes. Attend any CLE with a panel of judges in the Q&A session, and someone will put this question to the panel—guaranteed. The person... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2022 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Yesterday, I received an email from Bryan Garner's company, LawProse, on how to write a brief as a team, with different team members writing different parts of the brief. I thought it was excellent, so I asked Bryan for permission to reprint it here, and Bryan graciously granted permission. These... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2022 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
This just in: applying the employment-at-will doctrine, the Louisiana Supreme Court has upheld a private employer’s right to require all of its employees to be vaccinated against COVID. Hayes v. University Health Shreveport, LLC, 2021-CC-1601 (La. 1/7/21). Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2022 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Here’s a case that appears destined for the Louisiana Supreme Court. A simplified version of the facts: Plaintiff sues Defendant 1 and Defendant 2. Defendant 1 moves for and is granted a summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s claim against it. Under La. Code Civ. P. art. 966(G), one effect of the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2022 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
With the New Year just getting started, here’s an issue to look out for if the New Year brings a new judge to the case. On December 3, 2020, a pro tempore judge in a district court presided over a hearing of defendants’ motions for summary judgment and granted both... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2022 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Today’s news release by the Louisiana Supreme Court included an interesting item: a writ application not considered because the applicant violated Rule VII § 7. What does Rule VII § 7 say? The language used in any brief or document filed in this court must be courteous, and free from... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Earlier this month, the Louisiana Fifth Circuit adopted new Local Rule 13, governing motions for a stay of a matter in that court because of an automatic stay triggered by a party’s bankruptcy. The new rule is similar in substance to the Louisiana Fourth Circuit’s Local Rule 20.1. Both rules... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
The title of this post seems counterintuitive. Maybe it shouldn’t be. [F]ew things add strength to an argument as does a candid and full admission, whether as to facts or law, of the factors which are clearly against one. When this is made, judges know that the lawyer is worthy... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Some lawyers see a tension between professionalism and zealous advocacy. I don’t. I think that the two go together, that we are most persuasive when we apply the highest standards of professionalism in our advocacy. This truth becomes apparent when we consider ethos as a key to persuasion. In my... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
As we’ve seen in prior posts, an important mode of persuasion is ethos, the appeal based on the character of the speaker or writer. Ethos equates to trustworthiness. An advocates projects trustworthiness by showing intelligence, benevolence toward the audience, and high moral character. Today’s subject: how to show intelligence. For... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
When we apply to the court of appeal for a supervisory writ, our first task is to persuade the court to exercise its supervisory jurisdiction to consider the application’s merits. To do this, we often argue either that the trial court’s judgment causes irreparable injury (meaning an injury that cannot... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Today I gave a one-hour CLE presentation on appellate practice for the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Bridging the Gap webinar for new lawyers. For the webinar participants and anyone else who may be interested, here are some links to resources that you may find helpful: My written materials. My slide... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Yesterday, the Louisiana First Circuit announced that one of its panels (Judges Guidry, Holdridge, and Chutz) will be riding circuit on November 2, holding oral arguments at the brand new Ascension Parish Courthouse in Gonzales. To view the docket of cases to be argued in Gonzales, follow this link. Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
For those who like to plan way, way ahead, DRI has announced its 2022 CLE schedule, with the Appellate Advocacy Seminar scheduled for November 1–2, 2022 in San Diego. DRI’s programs are generally first-rate. I’ve attended 15 of their Appellate Advocacy Seminars over the years, and they’ve all been terrific.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made. —attributed to Jean Giradoux As we saw in my last post, the three components of an advocate’s ethos or trustworthiness are intelligence, honesty, and benevolence—or more accurately, the judge’s perception that the advocate is intelligent,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Let’s say you need to get your car repaired, and there are just four auto mechanics in town. is honest and wants the customer to be happy, but isn’t very smart. is smart and honest, but doesn’t care whether the customer is happy. is smart and wants the customer to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
Quotable quote by Justice Robert H. Jackson: Most lawsuits are ended as soon as there is a final settlement of the facts. The success or failure of young lawyers will be determined by the way they investigate and prepare and present cases to the triers of fact. A surprising number... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
In yesterday’s post, I talked about the importance of pathos—the appeal to emotion—in the art of persuasion. Today, I’ll talk about how to pull off a pathos-based argument. All the experts agree that an overt appeal to emotion is ineffective and possibly counterproductive, especially in an appellate court. In their... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals
For appellate advocates, persuasion means getting a panel of judges to do something favorable to the client’s cause, usually to affirm, reverse, modify, or vacate a trial court’s judgment. In Louisiana civil cases, persuasion may also includge getting the panel of judges to render a judgment favorable to the client’s... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2021 at Louisiana Civil Appeals