D. Todd Smith is a certified specialist in civil appellate law. He teaches a course about appellate practice and procedure at Solo Practice University®.
This interview is approximately 52 minutes. Listen directly below.
Todd and I enjoyed nearly an hour of discussion on what is new in appellate practice and procedure. This is what we talked about:
Appellate practice is not like document review; it’s mostly what Susskind calls “bespoke” work.
In today’s climate, more important than ever to set yourself apart:
- How to get into appellate practice whether your a law student or a practicing attorney
- Why blogging is a great opportunity to showcase by self-publishing.
Technology continues to advance in ways that level playing field for solo/small firm appellate practitioners:
- E-filing—reduces steps necessary to file briefs – Big issue in Texas right now
Technology also raises new issues/creates new problems:
- Is it OK to cite Wikipedia or other information outside the record in briefs?
- More appellate judges reading briefs on screen. The good, the bad and the ugly.
- Increasing awareness of importance of typography (Matthew Butterick).
…and much more like value-pricing not really taking hold in appellate practice!
Todd opened his solo practice in 2006 after spending nearly a decade with the international law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., where he was a member of the appellate and litigation practice groups. Before joining Fulbright, Todd served a two-year clerkship with Texas Supreme Court Justice Raul A. Gonzalez (ret.).
Todd represents plaintiffs and defendants in all phases of civil appeals and original proceedings, including preparation of written briefs and presentation of oral argument. He has handled matters before many of the Texas appellate courts, the Texas Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
A significant part of Todd’s practice takes place at the trial-court level, where he serves as counsel of record in a variety of commercial and tort cases and as a consultant to other lawyers and their clients. When engaged in a litigation support role, he assists trial counsel with strategic analysis and briefing, jury charges, and potentially dispositive motions, all with a focus on preserving error and positioning cases for appellate review.
Todd is the creator and publisher of the Texas Appellate Law Blog, an online resource for trial lawyers, in-house counsel, solo and small firm practitioners, and others who may have matters pending before Texas appellate courts. He is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and currently serves as editor of the State Bar Appellate Section publication, The Appellate Advocate.
All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.