When Should You Cross-Appeal?

ThinkstockPhotos-463518799Missing an opportunity to cross-appeal can be a big mistake. Ordinarily, if you’re on the winning side in the trial court, there’s no need to file a cross-appeal. But there are situations in which filing a cross-appeal is not only appropriate but critical. Continue reading

Lost on a Motion in Limine? Make Your Record!

The basic rule is that, if you don’t make a timely objection before or when objectionable matters are mentioned or introduced, you may not be able to raise the issue on appeal. See Evid C §353. Accordingly, if you don’t ensure that a proper record is made of any adverse ruling to a motion in limine, you may just have lost a ground for appeal. Here’s how to preserve the ground for appeal when you’re on the losing end of a motion in limine. Continue reading

Filing an Appeal? Follow 3 Steps to Drafting an Effective Statement of the Case

The appellate court probably knows the relevant law but not the facts of your case, so it will look to your appellant’s brief to fill this void. If you don’t provide an adequate statement of the case in your brief, the court will have to look to the respondent’s brief. That’s major incentive to making your statement of the case as clear and effective as possible. Continue reading

Put Chambers Chat on the Record

117533578Right before the trial begins, trial judges routinely invite counsel into chambers to explore areas of agreement and disagreement, anticipated trial objections, and how certain matters will be handled at trial. These conversations may feel informal, but they are far from it—get any argument or decisions made in chambers on the record. Continue reading

Illegal Contracts Are Enforceable. Sometimes.

464803599The following is a guest blog by Alan M. Goldberg of the Law Office of Alan Goldberg. Alan’s practice includes Appeals, Civil Trials, and Family Law. You can follow Alan on Twitter @AlanMGoldberg.

We learn in law school that illegal contracts aren’t enforceable. But that’s not precisely true. Some illegal contracts may be enforced, depending on the “realities of the situation.” Continue reading

Introducing Evidence? Make an Offer of Proof!

85449116Play it safe and make an offer of proof whenever you’re introducing evidence. Even if your evidence is excluded after a motion in limine or a trial objection, an offer of proof will preserve the record for appeal. Continue reading

When the Judge Won’t Budge

164569828You’ve tried to disqualify the judge in your case, but the judge won’t budge. What do you do? In California, you file a writ petition. Continue reading

Appellate Style Differences on Summary Reversal

The New York Times has dubbed summary reversal as a “favorite tool” of the Roberts Court. There’s speculation the Supreme Court may use it in a Citizens United sequel. By contrast, California courts use summary reversal very sparingly.   Continue reading

Profile in Practice: James C. Martin

As part of CEB’s commitment to bringing together California’s legal community, our blog will post a short interview with one of your fellow attorneys.

This week, we profile Jim Martin:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Jim: My principal practice area involves all aspects of civil appeals and writs in both state and federal courts. I also regularly participate in the strategy, briefing, and argument on the procedural and substantive issues that arise in complex litigation, including class actions. I embraced the appellate specialty because it emphasized research, writing, analysis, and argument and because it gave me the opportunity to work with some very bright and creative lawyers in my firm, each of whom taught me a lot. Continue reading

Profile in Practice: Mitchell E. Abbott

As part of CEB’s commitment to bringing together California’s legal community, our blog will post a short interview with one of your fellow attorneys.

This week, we profile Mitch Abbott:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Mitch: I specialize in handling writs and appeals (mostly in the state courts) on behalf of cities and other public agencies.  The cases I handle include election disputes, complaints of non-compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), “takings” claims in the context of local land use regulation, challenges to local taxes, assessments and bonds, and constitutional challenges to city ordinances in a wide variety of settings — from billboards to newsracks, and from juvenile curfews to regulation of adult-oriented businesses. Continue reading