News & Publications

Jan 22, 2022 Nadia A. Sarkis, Joseph Bui
Insider Tips On Drafting Effective Petitions For Review

In case you missed the recent presentation by GMSR partner Nadia Sarkis, former California Supreme Court Justice, Ming W. Chin, and other insiders who gave helpful tips on drafting effective petitions for review, here are some takeaway highlights:

Drafting Petitions for Review

  • The most important part of a petition for review is the statement of relevant issues.
  • As the Supreme Court considers about 150 petitions every week, shorter is always better.
  • Don’t throw in the kitchen sink: You’re better off drafting a shorter petition that discuses fewer issues.

Deciding Whether To File An Answer To A Petition

  • Filing an answer is often unnecessary, but whether to do so usually is a client-driven decision.
  • An effective answer points out procedural defects that would make it inadvisable for the Court to grant the petition.

How Does The California Supreme Court Decide Which Petitions To Grant?

  • The best case for obtaining review is a published case, with a dissent, a conflict in the law, good facts, and no procedural issues.
  • If there’s a dissent in the Court of Appeal opinion, the petition automatically makes the Supreme Court’s “A-list” for potential review.
  • Although petitions are more likely to be granted in published cases, courts cannot avoid review by deciding not to publish a decision. If there’s a conflict—even between published and unpublished authority—the Court may grant a petition to review an unpublished case if it is better vehicle to decide the issue.

The Number One Tip From GMSR?

  • Don’t write the petition or answer yourself. Instead, call or email Nadia Sarkis and her colleagues at GMSR. With decades of success getting cases into the courts of last resort, the firm gives clients expert guidance on whether and how a case can be framed to be heard. It’s what we do.