“Lawyers are an indispensable part of the pursuit of justice.”

The rarely cited Standards of Conduct for the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure—found in the TRAP following Section Five—begins with this statement. The Standards explain that:

The appellate lawyer’s role

Continue Reading Texas Standards for Appellate Conduct?

“But your client breached the agreement!” – declared a Fifth Circuit Judge while pounding a fist with each word.

“Respectfully, your honor, there never was an agreement for my client to breach.”

It was one of those moments that gave me flashbacks to those heated law school moot court practices that were aimed at preparing me for this type of exchange. Nonetheless, it was still rather daunting in real life.
Continue Reading Does Oral Argument ever make a difference?

After even a few years of practice, most attorneys have experienced that case that really should only reach a trial after a preliminary legal issue is decided. It just seems that the expense and time for trial is wasteful if ultimately, the controlling issue on appeal is the preliminary question before ever touching on the factual dispute. But Texas attorneys have been perplexed and frustrated when a court of appeals simply denies hearing that very case through a permissive interlocutory appeal.
Continue Reading Mother May I?

Recently, the Supreme Court of Texas released the final version for amendments to the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, namely Rule 53.2-.3, which provides the required contents of a petition for review and response to a petition for review. The Court added a new mandatory requirement that parties must include an introduction section.
Continue Reading The K.I.S.S. Method?

There’s a certain excitement as a trial lawyer when your witness is on the stand, effectively using an exhibit to lay out your case.  You can see the jury leaning in, the judge looking over, and know that they are fully engaged.

            The problem is that the courtroom magic doesn’t always translate into a cold appellate record.  Take this example, where a plaintiff explained to the jury where a particular incident happened in a boundary dispute:
Continue Reading Don’t be the case with a broken record.

Recently, I handled an appeal that was (how should I say this)… a mixed bag. That’s not uncommon. Most times, there are multiple issues at stake and multiple ways you can win… or lose. One particular issue in this mixed-bag appeal required that I defend the factual sufficiency of the evidence supporting my client’s award of attorney’s fees.
Continue Reading “But wait, there’s more.”