A Guide to Web Sites & Blogs Related to Appellate Law

Headnotes, Dallas Bar Association, April 2009. Reprinted with Permission.


Over the past few years, lawyers from across the country have developed Web sites and blogs focused on appellate practice and tracking appellate court decisions. The appellate courts have also developed increasingly more useful Web sites, which provide a variety of information about rules and internal operating procedures, as well as links to oral argument webcasts and electronic briefs. Below is a sampling of these resources and a brief description of their content.

Scotus Blog (http://www.scotusblog. com/wp/) — This blog comprehensively covers the United States Supreme Court. It monitors the filing of petitions for writ of certiorari, identifies cases that will likely be of interest to the Court (“petitions to watch”), previews cases set for oral argument, closely monitors the Court’s docket, and provides timely analysis of recently issued opinions. The site also posts the Court’s orders, briefing in cases of particular interests, and oral argument transcripts.

How Appealing (http://howappealing. law.com) — This blog describes itself as the “Web’s first blog devoted to appellate litigation.” It links to appellate-oriented news stories and Web site or blog entries in addition to appellate court decisions. Although the blog’s primary emphasis is appeals, it also links to numerous legal news stories every day.

Texas Appellate Law Blog (http://www.texasappellatelawblog.com/) — This blog, authored by Todd Smith, a solo appellate lawyer from Austin, provides appellate practice tips, including writing and business development suggestions, tracks decisions from the Texas appellate courts and the Fifth Circuit, and provides commentary on appellate issues.

The Supreme Court of Texas Blog (http://www.scotxblog.com/) — This blog, authored by another Austin solo (Don Cruse), carefully monitors the Texas Supreme Court’s docket. The blog identifies cases in which the Court has requested briefing on the merits, provides a weekly preview based on the Court’s calendar and the status of the Court’s docket, posts decisions, and provides insider’s tips about Texas Supreme Court practice.

The California Blog of Appeal (http://www.calblogofappeal.com/) — This blog tracks developments in the California appellate courts and Ninth U.S. Circuit and focuses on the “intersection of trial and appellate practice.” It provides interesting commentary on substantive legal developments, appellate procedure, post-trial practice, and advocacy skills.

Texas Judiciary Online (http:// www.courts.state.tx.us/) — This is the online home of the Texas Appellate Courts. Lawyers can access dockets, orders and opinions, rules, and internal operating procedures at each of the intermediate courts of appeals. The Texas Supreme Court’s Web site is also accessible at Texas Judiciary Online. In addition to opinions and the docket, the Supreme Court’s Web site allows the public access to oral argument webcasts, briefing on the merits, and the Court’s calendar.

Fifth U.S. Circuit (http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/) — The Fifth Circuit’s Web site provides access to the Court’s docket, oral argument calendar, opinions, rules, “circuit news,” internal operating procedures, and a practitioner’s guide. The Fifth Circuit has recently begun posting audio files of oral arguments. Many useful forms, including appearance forms and application for admission to the Fifth Circuit, are also available.

As appearing in Headnotes, Dallas Bar Association, April 2009. Reprinted with Permission.

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