Why Appellate Procedure?
My name is Dineen, and I am a rules geek. I am not embarrassed by my affliction. In fact, it has served me well throughout my legal career. It all started in law school, in my civil procedure class that very first year. The textbook chosen by our professor was newly-published. It was wonderful in that it found all of the funniest cases to illustrate its points, but it also contained errors. As I did my assignments, I kept a running list of all of the typos and substantive errors I found in the book on the back page. In the last two weeks of class, our professor was injured, and the replacement was none other than the author of the textbook. I screwed up my courage and approached her, and she was both mortified over the errors and grateful for the constructive feedback. Among my peers, I had established myself as the go-to gal for all things rules geekery.
That summer, I had the great honor of serving as a research assistant to a professor who was preparing a high-level seminar class on the 1997 Term of the United States Supreme Court. I spent many a summer day in the clerk’s office of the Supreme Court, photocopying petitions for certiorari and getting an insider’s view of the inner working of the highest court in the land. Most lawyers never get to step foot on its hallowed steps, and there I was, a lowly law student, practically on a first name basis with the folks in the clerk’s office. I caught the appellate law bug.
Upon graduation, I served as a law clerk for the Honorable Susan H. Black of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. One of the many things Judge Black taught me was the importance of procedure and rules for the orderly administration of justice. If I wasn’t already a rules geek, that solidified the deal.
I have had the great fortune to work on appeals in several courts nationwide. And every time, the first thing I do is reach for my rules book. Because that’s the kind of geek I am.
This blog is the culmination of all of those experiences. It started as memos to myself, reminders of issues I have researched and things I wished I had been told when I was new to appellate law. It also fills a niche — there are wonderful blogs that cover both the Florida appeal courts and the Eleventh Circuit in great detail, but none that I could find that focus specifically on the backbone rules that form the basis of good advocacy. It covers the latest pronouncements on appellate procedure from the Florida district courts of appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and both the Florida and U.S. Supreme Courts. But aside from the latest and greatest, it also includes mini analyses of various appellate procedure and trial preservation issues that come up in litigation. While nothing here should be considered on the same level of specific and up-to-date legal research into your own situation, I hope these vignettes will help readers stay up-to-date on procedure and get a head start on research.
Then, go grab your rule book.
About Dineen Pashoukos Wasylik
Dineen practices intellectual property litigation and counseling and handles Florida state court appeals and Federal appeals nation-wide. Dineen is certified by the Florida Bar as an expert in intellectual property law, and when it comes to appeals, one dealing with copyright or trademark law is pretty much law practice nirvana for Dineen.
Dineen has written merits and amicus briefs for appeals all over the country, and at every level. In 2013, Dineen launched her own law practice to marry these two practice areas, DPW Legal. For more information about DPW Legal, visit the firm’s website at www.ip-appeals.com.