Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Conference set for April 24-26

By Roberta M. Gubbins
Legal News

Every three years appellate justices, judges, practitioners and court staff come together at the Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Conference to share information on appellate advocacy. The conference this year will be held April 24-26 at the Inn of St. John’s in Plymouth. The title for this year’s conference is “Appellate Advocacy in the 21st Century-Bench and Bar Working Together to Achieve Justice Under the Law.”

The session will open on Thursday, April 25 with a welcome from Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Chief Judge William B. Murphy and Foundation Co-Chair Mary Massaron Ross followed by a discussion by a panel of appellate justices, judges and practitioners sharing their likes and dislikes. They will also review the results of a survey of both the bench and bar on appellate advocacy preferences for briefing and oral argument.

“This is a great conference,” said Liisa Speaker, Co-chair of the Scholarship Committee for the conference, “and if you do any amount of appellate work you should not miss it. There will be a lot of appellate judges in attendance, plus court staff. It is a great way to learn about the ins and outs of an appeal.”

Speaker recommends that “attorneys who do any amount of appeals” attend.

There are scholarships available for the conference.

“Scholarships,” said Speaker, “are still being accepted, up until the start of conference, but they are first come first serve, so there is no guarantee that if you wait to the last day, that they won’t be all gone. We don’t have any bright line rule on income, but do want to know if the applicant does any appointed work.”

The scholarship application is available at www.benchbar.org.

The conference provides an opportunity to learn and to socialize with justices, judges, court staff and fellow practitioners.

Thursday’s Dewitt C. Holbrook Memorial Fund Luncheon will feature Robert Dubose speaking on “Legal Writing for the Rewired Brain Persuading Readers in a Paperless World.” Thursday evening the Appellate Practice Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to former Chief Clerk of the Michigan Court of Appeals Sandra Schultz Mengel at a reception and dinner.

Friday’s luncheon speakers are Lisa DeCaro and Leonard Matheo, Courtroom Performance, Inc. talking on presentation skills for appellate lawyers. 

Advocacy Sessions will be offered on both days. Thursday’s offerings will include:

• Breakout sessions, led by experienced appellate advocates, to explore the best approach to writing effective briefs and presenting persuasive oral argument in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

• Criminal Law sessions covering everything from Ineffective assistance of counsel to a discussion of the SADO Appellate Project

• Civil Law sessions include: Civil Appeals 101, Innovations for the Appellate Lawyer, Appellate Rules and Practice, Art of Seeking Reconsideration and appeals in Domestic Relations Cases

• Child Welfare Law — Termination of Parental-Rights cases, Part I,

Friday’s sessions include a repeat of some of the sessions held on Thursday with the addition of the following:

• Attorney fees in domestic relations cases

• Child Welfare Law — Appellate issues, Part II

The Internet Café will be open throughout the conference. There will be efiling demonstrations from Tyler Technologies, Inc. and ImageSoft, Inc. Tyler’s Odyssey File & Serve is the current efiling system used by the Michigan Court of Appeals. ImageSoft’s TrueFiling platform has been selected by the SCAO (Supreme Court Administrative Office) as the statewide electronic filing system for centralizing and standardizing electronic filings in courts throughout Michigan.

The sponsors for the conference are The Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Conference Foundation, the State Bar of Michigan Appellate Practice Section, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and Michigan Supreme Court.

For more information, visit the State Bar of Michigan, Appellate Practice Section.

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