The Second District Court of Appeals in October published on its website a brief but mighty Practice Preferences guide [.pdf] to assist parties in guiding their practice before that Court. The document includes three main sections: (1) Notices, Motions, and Records, (2) Briefs and Brief Writing, and (3) Oral Argument. The document is a mix of general appellate advocacy best practices and the specific preferences of this Court and its judges. Some of the most important practice tips:
Make jurisdiction easy to discern (See page 1, #1).
When filing a notice of appeal, include a copy of any tolling motion and the order granting or denying that motion, so the date of rendition is clear without having to look outside of the filing to determine jurisdiction.
No footnotes! (See page 4, #8).
The Second District will just take your footnotes out of the margin and pull it into the body of the brief to make it more readable for the judges. And whatever you do, don’t cite Bryan Garner style (sorry, Bryan). This Court hates that, and I have personally witnessed a Court sending a so-cited brief back to the party to re-file with inline citation.
Maximize Oral Argument (See pages 5-6).
Probably the most useful section of the Practice Preferences goes into detail about Oral Argument best practices: how to introduce yourself, answer the Court’s questions, don’t interrupt the judge, be conscious of your remaining time, know your record and briefs and law, and practice!
Whether you are in the Second District or any other Florida intermediate appellate court, the guide is a concise and helpful summary of some of the most common questions of appellate procedure and practice.