Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

What’s New in Standards of Review

Below are the slides from my talk on standards of review at the 25th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course.  This is an important but incredibly dense topic, and I only had 30 minutes to present it.  I therefore focused on two things:  (1) the abuse-of-discretion standard, which defies precise definition; and (2) legal sufficiency of the evidence after City of Keller v. Wilson, 168 S.W.3d 802 (Tex. 2005).

The slides provide some flavor, but my basic point on City of Keller was that appellate lawyers and courts are still trying to sort out what it means six years later.  I wasn’t alone in that view.  The case was mentioned repeatedly during the seminar and was even described as the most important Texas Supreme Court decision from the past decade.

For fun, I’m also including @TexasBarCLE‘s tweets during my talk.  It’s true that, in a hotel ballroom packed with appellate lawyers, only one raised his hand.

Thanks to Brandy Wingate for letting me build on her work product in putting this presentation together.

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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