This course is designed for students with an interest in appellate practice. The course has two basic features. First, the course will offer in-class instruction regarding California appellate practice. Second, students will participate in clinical placements as extern research attorneys on the California Court of Appeal.
The goal of this course is to acclimate students to appellate practice “from the inside.” Though law students have been working in the courts as judicial externs and post-graduate clerks for decades, few (if any) courses prepare students for what it is like to work as clerks or research attorneys. Thus, this class will not only familiarize students with the basics of appellate practice (covering topics such as appealability, standing to appeal, harmless error, and writs), it will also provide students with an insider’s perspective on what it is actually like to work in the court (covering subjects such as the manner in which a course is assigned to a division or panel, how to write a draft opinion, and the role of dissent).
The course will be taught through a combination of lectures, guest lectures, and discussions. A panel of the Court of Appeal will also conduct oral argument during one of the classes. Each student will be assigned as an extern to an individual Justice of the Court of Appeal, Second District and each student will work in the Justice’s chambers during the course of the semester. Students will work directly with an individual Justice and conduct legal research, attend oral argument, and prepare actual draft opinions of the Court. Each student will also be paired with a local appellate practitioner who will serve as an advisor and mentor to the student during the course of the semester.