On April 20, 2015, the Appellate Lawyers Association hosted more than 75 attorneys, Appellate Court Justices, and law professors at its Advanced Appellate Practice Seminar, which focused on a variety of legal topics for the appellate practitioner. In the first session, an esteemed panel featuring past ALA president Ted Kionka, Seminars co-chair Jonathan Loew, and ALA Vice President and former Illinois Solicitor General Michael Scodro, discussed techniques and strategies for collaborating with trial counsel or co-counsel on appellate brief writing and oral argument. Justice John Simon of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, also presented an “insider’s view” of the collaborative writing process undertaken by a panel of Appellate Court Justices. ALA Board Member Gretchen Sperry moderated the panel. Mike Scodro also led a discussion on preparing for oral argument, particularly in the context of preparing newer attorneys for their first argument. ALA President Steve Pflaum and First District Appellate Court Justice Nathaniel Howse gave a thought-provoking presentation on legal ethics and issues that arise specifically in the context of appellate practice. First District Appellate Court Justice Margaret Stanton McBride also presented a discussion on interlocutory appeals, specifically interlocutory appeals as of right under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 307.
The seminar also featured substantive theoretical discussions of the practice of appellate law. Past ALA President J. Timothy Eaton discussed how recusals by Illinois Supreme Court Justices may affect cases pending before it. Eaton suggested that there be a mechanism by which the Supreme Court may assign an Appellate Court justice to replace a Supreme Court justice who recuses to maintain a composition of seven justices to hear cases, as is done in other states. Dr. Peter Koelling of the American Bar Association also gave a fascinating presentation on the Future of Appellate Practice, in light of advances in technology.
The ALA thanks all of the presenters and attendees for participating in the seminar. We also thank the Chicago Bar Association for hosting the event.