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Center for Animal Law Studies

Appellate Advocacy (517)

November 06, 2013

Kelly Zusman
2 credits
*generally offered in the spring
*Limit: 14 students

Students learn and practice the fundamentals of written and oral appellate advocacy. The first several weeks emphasize practical brief-writing skills. Students learn - through writing/editing exercises and individualized feedback on brief drafts - to write concisely and persuasively, and to edit their own work effectively. Students also learn to apply preservation-of-error rules, standards of review, the harmless-error doctrine, and other essential appellate principles. Students ultimately write 2 briefs to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - one criminal and one civil. The first brief assignment includes independent legal research; the second brief assignment is more circumscribed and does not involve legal research. The first brief satisfies the “B” writing requirement.

The middle of the course emphasizes oral argument skills. Students will argue before a simulated Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel, and will receive detailed critiques. Students who distinguish themselves in brief-writing and oral argument may be invited to join the school’s regional appellate advocacy team the following fall.

This is a graded course and grades are premised upon the following factors: first brief (30%), oral argument (20%), second brief (30%), and class attendance and participation (20%).

Prerequisite: Legal Writing