Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

Gateway to Appellate Practice

Faculty @ SPU In early 2009, I began teaching a course on Appellate Practice and Procedure at Solo Practice University, a web-based educational and professional networking community where faculty from across the country teach lawyers and law students how to practice law.  Over that year, I planned and self-produced a series of eight video lectures, which remain available online with a paid enrollment at SPU.

Now, for attorneys interested exclusively in my course, I am pleased to offer it for purchase through a dedicated website,  That site serves as a gateway for those considering a career in appellate law.

Most of the videos run between 45 minutes and an hour, and all include a slide presentation.  The lecture topics are:

  1. Overview and Tools of the Trade
  2. How Appellate Lawyers Bring Value at the Trial Court Level
  3. Handling an Appeal—The Decision to Appeal and Preliminary Matters
  4. Handling an Appeal—Preparing Briefs (Part I)
  5. Handling an Appeal—Preparing Briefs (Part II)
  6. Oral Argument and the Decision
  7. Rehearing and Higher Court Review
  8. Tips and Strategies for Marketing an Appellate Practice

In keeping with SPU’s mission, the course overviews appellate law as a practice area for solos and small firms.  The lectures break down the elements of an appeal, provide tips for handling each element, explore the range of services appellate counsel can provide, and discuss the resources and skills needed to succeed as an appellate lawyer.  Because SPU students come from all over, the videos are not Texas-centric.

I hope anyone viewing the lectures finds them helpful and informative.  Thanks again to SPU and its founder, Susan Cartier Liebel, for giving me the opportunity to participate in this project.

Related post:  Flying Solo in Appellate Law.

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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