On November 6, 2014, the Broome County Bar Association presented a four-hour CLE on “Appeals Courts 2014” in Binghamton, NY. At this program, Cynthia Feathers, Esq., an accomplished appellate practitioner, and esteemed judges of the Appellate Division, Third Department provided the attendees with valuable insights to appellate practice. Around 60 attorneys attended the event, and the response to the content was excellent.
In the morning session, Cynthia Feathers, Esq. focused on “How to do Better Appeals” and offered the attendees her valuable and pragmatic “how to” information gleaned from her 25-plus years of experience as a solo practitioner and former Assistant Attorney General.
During the second part of the program, the Honorable Robert S. Rose and the Honorable Elizabeth A. Garry, Justices with the Appellate Division, Third Department, offered “Tips from the Bench” and answered questions from the attendees. Justices Rose and Garry discussed such things as the caseload they carry and how appeals are ranked on a scale of 1-5—from the least complex (1) to the most complex (5). Last year, there were between 1,800 and 1,900 appeals filed in the Third Department and about 6,000 motions. When talking about the caseloads, they explained how each judge has the primary responsibility (reporting to the panel and authoring decisions) for about 200 cases and they each sit on a panel for about 1,000 cases in total.
The justices imparted sage advice to the attendees from their perspective on the bench, such as the importance of always communicating with the Court in a direct and honest way. They mentioned that the brief is the heart of the appeal and cautioned against using too many footnotes. The other key comment from the justices was to distill your case to the most basic legal elements and focus your arguments on those elements by presenting them in as straightforward, and in the most plain/simple, way as possible.
Counsel Press was proud to sponsor and be a part of this worthwhile event. Counsel Press’ appellate experts, Linda Champlin and Lisa O’Hara, attended on behalf of the company, met with the speakers and appellate practitioners, answered numerous questions on rules and procedures of the appellate courts, had many interesting discussions on current appellate matters and issues and handed out rulebooks and other appellate-related literature.