The Art of Appellate Advocacy

Rules of practice and procedure provide technical information in regard to perfecting appeals, but they do not explain how to win an appeal any more than how to win a trial. Advocacy is not an exact science; the skills which contribute to effective advocacy, whether in a trial or on appeal, have long been recognized as an art. We shall here deal with these skills at the appellate level, bearing in mind, of course, the limitations of formulating rules or precepts that can adequately instruct in any art.

There is no single, prescribed method for writing a play or painting a picture. Similarly, there is no defined way to try a lawsuit or present an appeal. For the lawyer, like the artist, the approach is a matter of individual style, but there are nevertheless certain fundamental precepts. Other concepts herein asserted are the reflections of the writer based on personal experience during the course of some forty years of a practice that has been liberally sprinkled with appellate work and seasoned with a deep avocational interest in the rules of practice and procedure.