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.

Jan 13, 2021 Alana H. Rotter
What Are Friends For?

Amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs are an ever-expanding dimension of appellate practice. Here are some pointers to consider in soliciting or writing them: Amicus briefs can serve various functions, from providing factual/industry context to raising legal arguments that the parties missed. They should

Nov 12, 2020 Laurie J. Hepler
The Whole Map

California’s appellate courts influence the law elsewhere.  Our courts often develop precedent on issues before other states do, and other states may consider those precedents persuasive.  So for corporate clients, appellate strategy should consider long-term interests in all states where the client operates. Does the

Oct 14, 2020 Alana H. Rotter
Hot Off The Press

Appellate courts often will refuse to consider an authority mentioned for the first time at oral argument.  But there is generally a gap of 3-18 months between the close of appellate briefing and argument.  If a relevant new decision is issued during that gap, consider

Sep 15, 2020 Laurie J. Hepler
Secret Weapons

California appellate courts publish only about 15% of their civil decisions as citable precedent.  Lurking in the other 85% are often valuable clues about how the court may view your case.  How to find them? First, geography.  There may be scores of unpublished decisions on

Aug 11, 2020 Alana H. Rotter
Ready For Your Close-Up?

As more courts switch from phone arguments to video arguments, it’s increasingly important to think through the physical layout of the space you’ll be arguing from.  Here are some specific pointers, beyond the basic tips we offered in April: Position the camera at your eye

Jul 09, 2020 Laurie J. Hepler
July COVID Updates

Rules and practices in the California Courts of Appeal have changed almost weekly since March.  Here is the latest: Most appellate courts are now conducting video oral arguments, livestreamed on their websites.  The Sixth District (San Jose) is still using phone conferencing, and the Third

Jun 16, 2020 Alana H. Rotter
What’s Your Authority For That?

Clear, concise legal writing is more important than ever, with court closures leading to motions being decided on the papers and creating a backlog for judges to sort through when the courts reopen.  Tailor your use of legal authorities to help the judge quickly see

May 27, 2020 Laurie J. Hepler
A Moment of Gratitude

Two months ago, COVID-19 closed most of California’s civil court system—the largest in the world.  And nearly all courts remain shuttered except for true emergencies. But there is one major exception: the appellate courts.  Their work does not require large gatherings, and most of it can

Apr 14, 2020 Alana H. Rotter
Can You Hear Me Now?

Although some appellate courts have cancelled or postponed oral arguments in light of the current pandemic, others are forging ahead with arguments via phone or videoconference.  Here are some pointers for arguing remotely: Find out in advance what platform the court will be using, and

Mar 12, 2020 Laurie J. Hepler
Slay The Footnotes

Are footnotes in appellate briefs really so bad? Yes, they are. If you must use them temporarily to store ideas while drafting, be sure to remove virtually all of them before you file. Here’s why. Distraction.  Most of us have trouble following an argument if told to

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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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Where coverage may exist, GMSR represents insureds on appeal effectively and efficiently. Where it does not, the firm protects insurers’ right to deny claims.

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As part of GMSR’s long-standing commitment to social justice and equality, GMSR provides pro bono appellate services to individuals and to community organizations on issues of concern.

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