The Legal Advocate

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High Marks for Winning on Appeal

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Philadelphia appellate lawyer Howard J. Bashman recently reviewed Winning on Appeal: Better Briefs and Oral Argument, a longtime NITA classic whose third edition was released just in time for the new school year this fall.

In his article for The Legal Intelligencer, Mr. Bashman discusses his personal history with Winning on Appeal and why, twenty-five years after its initial release, the book remains one of the leading practical guides to effective appellate practice:

Because a party’s appellate brief(s) ­ordinarily play the most significant role in the outcome of any appeal, approximately two-thirds of the book is devoted to planning and executing a well-written and persuasive brief. The remainder of the book focuses on preparing for and delivering the oral argument of an appeal. If you think that you are someone who already knows all there is to know about these subjects, then you are probably most in need of what this book has to offer. And it almost goes without saying that if you realize your skills as an appellate advocate are still capable of improvement, which is certainly something that is true for all of us, then this book ­unquestionably can provide helpful guidance and assistance.

In addition to furnishing advice and ­suggestions from numerous federal and state appellate judges, including Pennsylvania’s own Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor, the book also contains advice from numerous, highly regarded appellate attorneys. I can’t think of any other appellate practice guide where one would find advice from attorneys Paul D. Clement, Seth P. Waxman, Miguel A. Estrada, Kyle Duncan (recently ­nominated to the Fifth Circuit), Peter Keisler and Scott Keller, to name just a few.

The original Winning on Appeal was written in 1992 by the late Third Circuit Judge Ruggero Aldisert. This new edition was meticulously updated by Tessa L. Dysart, Assistant Director of Legal Writing and Associate Clinical Professor at Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, and Judge Leslie H. Southwick of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. It brings readers flush into the modern, twenty-first century courtroom, where technology is melded with appellate advocacy, and is replete with dozens of interviews with leading appeals judges and practitioners about the nuts and bolts of winning on appeal. NITA’s veritable who’s who of appellate advocacy in America features a Foreword penned by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.

Mr. Bashman is a nationally known appellate lawyer who represents clients before the Third Circuit and Pennsylvania appellate courts. How Appealing, his wrapup of appellate news from around the nation, appears daily on Above the Law.

Note: Mr. Bashman was an advance reviewer of Winning on Appeal, and his praise appears in the book. The authors and NITA are grateful for his interest in and support of Winning on Appeal.

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NITA’s team of practicing lawyers, professors and judges from around the nation dedicates its efforts to the training and development of skilled and ethical legal advocates to improve the adversarial justice system.

NITA’s Goals are to:

  • Promote justice through effective and ethical advocacy.
  • Train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in pursuit of justice.
  • Develop and teach trial advocacy skills to support and promote the effective and fair administration of justice.
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