Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

Texas MDLs and Appellate Lawyers


Last week, I spoke at TexasBarCLE’s Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course about transfer proceedings before the Texas Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. For anyone interested, my presentation slides appear at the end of this post.

MDLs may not seem all that relevant to appellate practice at first blush, but it is important for appellate lawyers to understand the transfer process. When complex litigation arises involving multiple parties, there is always a possibility of multiple lawsuits being filed.  An appellate lawyer should be prepared to advise clients and their trial lawyers about the availability of an MDL because the strategy for filing or defending against a transfer motion must be implemented from the outset of the case. MDL transfer proceedings are particularly suited for appellate lawyers because the page limits (yes, page limits, not word count limits) are short, the cases tend to be complex, and the Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is comprised of appellate justices and administrative judges. The skills required to prepare a succinct but persuasive appellate brief apply well in the MDL setting.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center.


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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