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The Champion

August 2017 , Page 51 

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Appellate Advocacy: From Cover to Content: Ten 21st Century Tips for Effective Appellate Briefing

By Daniel E. Monnat and Paige A. Nichols

Read more Appellate Advocacy columns.

In the massive media coverage earlier this year of Supreme Court Justice (then-nominee) Neal Gorsuch — coverage that examined in microscopic detail his decisions, his judicial philosophy, his high school yearbook — only a handful of commenters called attention to Judge Gorsuch’s unpublished opinion in the Tenth Circuit case Allejandre-Gallegos v. Holder.1 But Tenth Circuit practitioners know the opinion well. And it makes us quake in our appellate boots. After all, who among us wants to be at the receiving end of an appellate opinion directing the clerk to initiate disciplinary proceedings because, among other sins, we “ha[ve]n’t even bothered to alphabetically arrange [our] table of authorities”?2 It may well be that the lawyer in Allejandre-Gallegos had it coming. He represented vulnerable clients in immigration matters, and had, according to the Tenth Circuit, been filing deficient briefs in that court for at least a decade.3 In this last-straw case, the court counted

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