Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Appellate Record

Years ago I was perusing the various legal writing and appellate practice blogs that populate the Internet, and I encountered The Appellate Record by Kendall Gray, Jr.  The posts were interesting, but sporadic, and understandably so considering that Mr. Gray is an appellate lawyer and partner at Andrews & Kurth, LLP. 

Recently, however, Mr. Gray has made the time to share his insight.  After just a few minutes of browsing his posts, I can say that the appellate practitioners will appreciate his return.

I particularly enjoyed this piece of advice: develop a story, not a timeline.  A rendition of the facts should establish the scene and set up the narrative.  Contemplate for a moment the opening lines of the greatest novels and movies:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away"

"Elmer Gantry was drunk."

Mr. Gray's examples made me think of the opening lines of classic children's books:

"In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon and a picture of... The cow jumping over the moon"

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse"

How we learn stories as a child informs our understanding of classic literature and movies.  That is, we understand disputes - and a legal dispute is merely another type of conflict - through the ingredients that make a story, i.e.,  characters, setting, and plot.  

In any event, I highly doubt this is the last time we will discuss Mr. Gray's blog.  I highly recommend it to any lawyer interested in learning the art of appellate advocacy.  

No comments:

Post a Comment