Appellate lawyers are constantly asked (and asking themselves) some variant of the same question: “How long until we get a decision?” The reality is that it’s hard to know. Nevertheless, most will, after being pressed, venture a guess based on their informed experience.

To supplement our informed experience, we conducted an analysis of twenty-one recent

Is there anything appellate lawyers can learn from the recent high-profile telephonic oral argument held in the Ninth Circuit in Washington v. Trump? A Defense Research Institute Appellate Advocacy Committee teleconference recently endeavored to answer that question. The speakers were Mary Massaron and Jerry Ganzfried, and the moderator was Keith Whitson. Here are a

In Cardno ChemRisk, LLC v. Foytlin, 476 Mass. 479 (2017), the Supreme Judicial Court held that the anti-SLAPP statute protected two bloggers’ critical opinions contained in a blog post directed at a scientific consulting firm working for British Petroleum (“BP”) in the wake of the Deep Water Horizon spill.

The defendant bloggers, two environmental

Charles_Fried_at_Harvard(2)In Part I of our interview with former Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Charles Fried, he offered advice to Massachusetts appellate lawyers on brief writing and preparing for oral argument. As promised, in Part II, Fried shares some examples of appellate advocacy drawn from his own practice.

Duane Reade Inc. v. St. Paul Fire and

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I recently listened to an ABA Section of Litigation Roundtable entitled ““Appellate Practice: How to Grab, Keep, and Kill the Panel’s Attention During Oral Argument.”  The program featured advice from Judge Andre Davis, Senior Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and Judge Kem Frost, Chief Justice of the Fourteenth Court


Charles Fried is, by any measure, a pre-eminent legal scholar and American jurist. He served as an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1995-1999. Prior to that, he was Solicitor General of the United States from 1985-1989. He has argued numerous major cases in state and federal appellate courts, including Daubert v.

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Recently we covered the basics of interlocutory appeals to a single justice of the Massachusetts Appeals. Court. Here are some thoughts on how you can improve your chances of obtaining review:

  • Highlight why the issue presented is an important one not only for your case, but for other pending cases, or the development of

Post Photo_Quill-400pxWOnce, while at a family gathering, I witnessed my brother tell his four-year-old son, Riley, that, no, he could not watch a video until after he finished eating dinner. Undaunted, Riley jumped up from the table and ran to his mother in the kitchen, “Mom!” he cried. “Dad won’t let me watch Pinocchio!” Immediate appeal from a final judgment.

The parallels between Riley’s pursuit of a higher authority and what I do for a living got me thinking. Clearly, Riley was unhappy and thought his chances would be better with a different decision-maker. Perhaps a more sympathetic ear, one with liberal movie-watching leanings. Alas for Riley, his mom is an experienced jurist and quickly ascertained that the Court of Dad had not erred. Affirmed without opinion.

Was Riley’s reaction so very different than the reaction that most clients have upon hearing that they have lost their case? Probably not. Everyone is looking for a fair shake. A chance to complain. Ever-elusive justice.
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