Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

Soliciting Potential “Greenbook” Revisions

The Texas Law Review is working on on a new edition of the Texas Rules of Form, more affectionately known as the “Greenbook.”  The call for suggestions or comments, with the relevant contact information, is available here.

Some issues are already being discussed over at the Supreme Court of Texas Blog, including citations to court opinions outside of paid research services (Westlaw or LEXIS) and the future of Texas’s subsequent-history system.

Adding to that discussion, TLR might consider creating a new subsequent-history designation for cases the Texas Supreme Court has acted on in some way, but has not yet decided.  For example, if the Court has requested full briefing, the designation might be “pet. filed, briefing requested” or something similar.  Or, after the petition has been on file some minimum period, the designation might be changed to “pet. pending.”  (Hat tip to Dylan Drummond for the latter idea.)

When a matter has been on file for some time, the designation “pet. filed” doesn’t provide much useful information.  These suggestions would help address that shortcoming.  But some would question the wisdom of adding more designations to a system that is already difficult to understand without considerable study and practice.

The problem I see with basing such designations on anything other than the passage of time is how to obtain the additional information when citing the case.  If research services don’t pick it up, viewing the Supreme Court’s online docket might be the most expedient way, and even that would be fairly tedious.

The Greenbook’s subsequent history designations are confusing to many lawyers.  If you’re interested in providing feedback based on your own experiences, now is the time.

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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