The purpose of this seminar is to teach you appellate advocacy skills. You will learn the process of writing an appellate brief, preparing for oral argument, and delivering the argument. In the process, you will receive one-on-one instruction from the professors. We will seek to engage the students in lively class discussion, and we will rely on real-world successes and failures from briefs and oral arguments by practitioners in the federal appellate system.
In the seminar, you will write an appellate brief based on a real case and present a moot oral argument in support of your brief before a panel of appellate judges and/or nationally recognized appellate practitioners. You will have the opportunity to express a preference for which side of the case you wish to represent (appellant or appellee) for purposes of your brief and oral argument. We will provide individualized critiques after you submit a draft of your brief and again after your oral argument. Both the draft and final versions of the student brief must be at least 6,000 words in length, excluding footnotes (or roughly 25 pages).
The professors for the seminar are Lisa S. Blatt, the head of the Appellate and Supreme Court practice at Arnold & Porter Kay Scholer LLP who has argued 35 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous cases before the federal courts of appeals, and Robert Leider, an associate who joined the practice after clerking for Justice Clarence Thomas and who has experience handling appeals before federal and state appellate courts. We believe that success in virtually any legal career requires excellent writing and oral advocacy skills.