Articles Tagged with appeal

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Experienced, Dedicated, Preparedrecent lawsuit challenges Alabama’s state-wide method of electing appellate court judges. National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed retired Federal Magistrate Judge Vanzetta McPherson about the lawsuit. McPherson previously served the Federal Court in Montgomery.

McPherson answered questions from the NPR host about the new election lawsuit. Alabama elects appellate judges in state-wide elections. The lawsuit alleges this state-wide process is a violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act. As McPherson explained in the NPR interview, minorities are not currently represented on Alabama’s appellate courts.

I’m not an expert on the Voting Rights Act. I will let McPherson discuss that issue. Our firm does pursue personal injury, work comp and other damage lawsuits to trial in counties across Alabama. Between trials and appeals, we follow the courts closely. I have long advocated a change to our appellate election system so judges could be elected by districts rather than state-wide. I wrote a prior article which discussed the issue in 2010. I welcome Judge McPherson’s discussion concerning diversity and representation on our appellate courts.

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I recently read an interesting article from a successful appellate lawyer in Alabama, Mike Skotnicki. The article is on his blog. Mike discussed storytelling in appellate briefs. When attorneys think of appellate arguments they often picture a panel of scholarly judges discussing the finer of points of legal issues.

Mike presented an interesting study concerning the impact of storytelling in appellate briefs. In the cited study, a panel of appellate judges was provided two briefs. One brief presented solely logical arguments. The other incorporated a strong storytelling element. Most of the readers found the brief incorporating storytelling to be much more persuasive. I started my career writing appellate briefs. I can say that I probably spent 90% of my brief writing time telling the compelling story presented by the facts and only about 10% of my time making the legal arguments. Real cases involve real people and real problems. Their stories are personal and compelling.

The study cited by Mike considered the impact of storytelling just on appellate judges. However, all of us are hard-wired to be moved by compelling stories.

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