Appellate Insights

GMSR’s monthly appellate insights offer concise, timely guidance on appellate issues, and tips for avoiding common pitfalls at all stages of litigation.

Nov 11, 2022 Laurie J. Hepler
Back to Basics on Oral Argument

Preparing for oral argument is arduous.  It requires close review of the record, the law and the briefs.  Predicting questions—both adverse and favorable—is also key.  But none of that will be much help if you can’t clearly address these basics: What is the core point

Oct 13, 2022 Alana H. Rotter
Should You File A Writ Petition?

Most interlocutory rulings are not immediately appealable in California—instead, they can be reviewed as part of an appeal from the eventual final judgment.  Litigators who receive adverse non-appealable rulings often ask whether it’s worth seeking immediate review via a writ petition.  Here are some factors

Sep 08, 2022 Laurie J. Hepler
Why and How To Slash Footnotes

Most judges hate footnotes in briefs.  Please trust us on this, because we talk about legal writing with judges and justices a lot.  Footnotes slow down a process that courts need to speed up: reading your brief and learning your main points.  Worse, many lawyers

Aug 11, 2022 Alana H. Rotter
Don’t Miss An Appealable Order

Most trial court orders are not immediately appealable—review is available only on appeal from a final judgment or via a writ petition.  But some types of orders are immediately appealable.  It’s important to identify those orders, because failing to timely appeal them forever forfeits appellate

Jul 11, 2022 Laurie J. Hepler
Handling Tentative Opinions

For years, only one appellate division in California (based in Riverside) routinely provided tentative opinions before oral arguments.  With dozens of new justices taking seats on the appellate bench around the state, however, more panels have begun to offer tentative opinions for some appeals.  Here

Jun 14, 2022 Alana H. Rotter
What Form Of Verdict Should You Propose?

Litigators preparing for trial often ask whether they should propose a general verdict or a special verdict.  Although there are many strategic considerations, a key one is that special verdicts are more vulnerable to reversal on appeal than general verdicts.  Some reasons for that are:

May 16, 2022 Alana H. Rotter
Covering Your Bases On A New Trial Motion

When pursuing a new trial motion in California state court, the substance is important.  But procedure is also crucial, to set the stage for preserving a new-trial grant or reversing a denial on appeal.  Among the key points: File the notice of intent within the

Apr 18, 2022 Gary J. Wax
How To File An Appeal In California

✅ The Notice of Appeal   The Notice of Appeal is the document that an aggrieved party files in the trial court to start the appeal process.  Filing a notice of appeal notifies the court and the opposing side that an appealable order or final

Apr 15, 2022 Alana H. Rotter
Three Ways To Make Your Writing More Reader-Friendly

Your writing should make it easy for the judge or research attorney to follow your argument. There are many components to this. Here are three that arise frequently, but may not be obvious: Ellipses. Although ellipses help shorten long quotations, readers naturally wonder what was

Mar 15, 2022 Laurie J. Hepler
Two Sides

In nearly every case, both sides have colorable-to-good arguments.  Seeing both sides as objectively as you can, as early as you can, helps you win on appeal.  Here is how: First, winning sometimes means settling for a reasonable number—one that compromises between both sides’ best

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