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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Advanced Legal Writing and Advocacy: Appellate Advocacy (Fall 2019)

  • Course Number: LAW-872
  • Class Number: 03581
  • Instructor: Jonathan Libby

Course Description

With the guidance of an experienced federal appellate practitioner, students will learn to excel at appellate brief writing and oral advocacy. The focus of this class will be federal criminal appeals. By the end of the course, and with appropriate supervision, students should be able to competently brief and argue an appeal before any appellate court in the country.  Students will first be assigned a fully-briefed appeal to argue before a three-judge panel consisting of their professor and two of their classmates.  Students will learn to prepare for and present oral arguments, and their own arguments should benefit from having to serve as judges for an unrelated argument.  Students will also be responsible for preparing a federal appellate brief and orally arguing the case to a panel of attorney judges.  The subject matter will likely involve criminal law, criminal procedure and constitutional law issues.  Class participation will be an important part of the course as students will review and critique the written work and oral advocacy of attorneys as well as their fellow students, and share ideas about how to polish their writing and advocacy skills.  Students will also have multiple one-on-one conferences with the professor to discuss drafts of their briefs and how to improve their writing and oral advocacy.  The class is also expected to attend at least one day of arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and will hear from one or more guest speakers, including appellate practitioners and appellate judges.

A final appellate brief, two graded oral arguments and other in-class presentations will be required.  The final appellate brief will be 30-60 pages and drafts must be submitted in advance for comment and discussion.

Course Details

  • Unit Value: 3
  • Grading Options: Numerical Only
  • Schedule: T 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • Room Number: Room 107: Ackerman Courtroom
  • Exam: None
  • Writing Requirement: Yes
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: Yes
  • Participation: Required and graded
  • Enrollment Limitation: 10 students