Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

Use Care When Drafting Trial-Court Orders

A lawyer heading into a trial-court hearing should draft a favorable order and have it on hand in case the judge is inclined to rule then and there. In addition to being efficient and good for client relations, getting that kind of instant gratification feels great.

That said, use care when drafting an order you want the trial court to enter. As I write this post, I am dealing with an order that is vulnerable to attack because it doesn’t conform to the evidence or legal argument presented at the hearing. In his haste to get something signed right away, my opponent has given me some of the grounds I need to get the order overturned on appeal.

Finding the time to prepare an order in advance can be difficult. It’s good advocacy—but only when done right. Do it wrong at your client’s peril.

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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