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.

Aug 09, 2023 Gary J. Wax
How To Use Your Appellate Lawyer During Trial

During a complex trial, there often aren’t enough hours in the day for litigators to accomplish every task.  To help alleviate your burden, consider including a lawyer with appellate expertise (sometimes called “legal issues counsel”) on your team.  Whether you win or lose at trial,

Jul 14, 2023 Jeffrey E. Raskin
Judging the Judge: Judicial Disqualification

In most appeals, the best practice is to deemphasize direct criticism of the trial court judge.  That is more difficult—and perhaps the opposite of what you should do—when arguing that the judge should be disqualified for cause.  How should you approach disqualification issues? Have an eye on appellate review at the brainstorming stage.  Time is

Jun 17, 2023 Laurie J. Hepler
Can I Cite This Unpublished Decision?

Every lawyer confronts the problem: a helpful decision that’s “not officially published.”  What to do?  The answer depends on which court issued the decision, and when.  Assuming (as ASIC always does) that you’re briefing to a California state court, here are the rules, and the

May 15, 2023 Alana H. Rotter
How To Strategically Use Statements Of Decision

The convoluted process for obtaining a statement of decision after a bench trial frequently trips up litigators.  This is a missed opportunity.  Mastering the nuances of the process can help maximize your chance of success on appeal.  Here are some key points: The Court of

Apr 12, 2023 Gary J. Wax
To Gain An Edge, Control The Document

During trial, there are several opportunities to obtain an edge over opponents simply by offering to prepare or edit documents—in particular, jury instructions and verdict forms.  Here are some tips to obtain and maintain an advantage: Don’t simply submit a list of the CACI form

Mar 15, 2023 Jeffrey E. Raskin
Arbitration Appealability & Trial Court Strategy

There are many nuances when it comes to appealability of a trial court order on an arbitration award.  Those nuances dictate how and when to seek appellate review.  But it’s worth considering them earlier in the process too, so you can structure your trial court

Feb 16, 2023 Alana H. Rotter
The Judge Rejected Your Position. Now What?

Litigators concerned about preserving an argument for appeal often ask what they should do in the face of an adverse interim ruling.  For example, if the court rejects your argument that a cause of action shouldn’t go to the jury, do you forfeit review of

Jan 12, 2023 Laurie J. Hepler
What Makes a Brief Excellent?

California appellate courts draft opinions based on the briefs and their own research before they hold oral argument—and the draft almost never changes much.  So the briefs are by far your most important persuasive tool.  Don’t aim to file something merely “good.”  Instead aim to

Dec 12, 2022 Alana H. Rotter
CACI Instructions Are Not Always Correct

The Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (i.e., CACI instructions) get heavy use in California’s trial courts, both because they are convenient and because some judges insist on them.  But beware:  CACI instructions have their limits.  Those limits include: CACI instructions are not themselves

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

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Whether on appeal, assisting trial counsel, or advising government officials contemplating legislative action, GMSR provides unique insight into the complex laws that impact public entities.

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