Appellate Practice

Section 1, Fall 17

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 14/16
Credits: 3

Course Description

The seminar is designed to teach the skills required of appellate advocates. We will begin with the necessary steps lawyers must take at the trial level to preserve issues for appeal and present an adequate record for appellate review. The course will cover considering whether to appeal, the requirements for perfecting an appeal, and, with standards of review in mind, choosing the issues for an appeal. The course will address fashioning assignments of error and drafting the other essential parts of an appellate brief: the statement of the case, the statement of facts, and the argument. We will study effective research, persuasive writing, and critical reviewing skills as we prepare an appellate brief. Also, we will become familiar with ethical rules applicable to appellate advocates. Finally, we will study and practice effective appellate oral argument, including presentation of prepared material and answering questions from the court. Prior to our session in Week 10, each student must attend an oral argument in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the Supreme Court of Virginia, or the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Within one week of the argument, the student will submit a short written report, not to exceed one page, double-spaced type, which includes the date of the argument, the court, a discussion of the issues and facts in the case, and a comment on an aspect of the argument that impressed the student favorably or unfavorably (e.g., a particular attorney's performance, a judge's questions, or an original argument).

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product:

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: No
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Notes: All students will be expected to attend and participate in our 3-hour weekly meetings. Attendance at the first class is required. Class meetings will include discussion, as well as critiquing and revising exercises. Every student will prepare a draft appellate brief, in segments, and a final brief. Every student will present an oral argument. Required text: MARY BETH BEAZLEY, A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO APPELLATE ADVOCACY (4th ed. 2014). The grade will be determined as follows: -60% based on the draft brief (in segments) and the final brief; -25% based on participation in class discussions and exercises, and the paper on attending an outside appellate argument; -15% based on the oral argument.

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Concentrations: Litigation and Procedure
Public Syllabus Link: None
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