Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

Extensions of Time in the Fifth Circuit

Let’s be honest. Most state-court appellate practitioners find the Fifth Circuit a little byzantine. But one thing the Fifth Circuit does right is allow the clerk’s office to grant short unopposed briefing extensions—up to 30 days—over the telephone. The circuit court has even done away with the requirement that the requesting counsel send a confirmation letter to the clerk, with a copy to all parties.

Briefing extensions are pretty easy to come by in state appellate courts, but they’re not just a phone call away. I can think of one or two other federal rules that the Texas Supreme Court ought to consider emulating when considering future rules changes. For example, why not adopt some variation of FRAP 28.1 to deal with cross-appeals?

D. Todd Smith
About the Author

D. Todd Smith is an Austin-based civil appellate specialist who works with trial teams from the earliest stages of litigation. In trial courts, he takes the lead on strategic analysis and briefing, jury charges, and potentially dispositive motions, all with a focus on preserving error and positioning cases for appellate review.

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