A lawyer friend of one of my partners called him yesterday to tell him that, while in a telephone conversation with one of the judges who sits in the Appellate Court in Rochester (Fourth Department), the judge asked him if he knew Michael Bersani (me). He responded, “sure, I know Mike, why”? The judge replied, “because he writes the most excellent appellate briefs”!
Very flattering, especially since I don’t even know that judge. I used to work up there clerking, many years ago, but all the judges I worked for are retired.
More important than the flattery, though, is what this could mean to my clients. I have two important appeals pending up in that Court. I argue one of them next week. Did the judge’s comment mean that this particular judge agrees with my arguments? Or does he just think I write wonderfully on a losing argument? I am hoping the judges don’t just think I can “write” well, but also that I am just plain “right” on the legal issues.
You have a much better chance of winning an appeal if you are a powerful writer. Being “right” and knowing how to “write” overlap. Appellate advocacy is not about splashing an argument onto a brief and hoping the judges agree. It’s about framing the argument right, organizing it right, and saying it right, so that the only logical conclusion a reasonable reader can draw is that you ARE right.
I sure hope I’m right!
Stay tuned . . .
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Personal Injury Lawyers Michaels & Smolak, P.C.