The Jury Talks Back

1/13/2009

Appellate Advocacy Wisdom From The Great Kozinski

Filed under: Uncategorized — Justin Levine @ 3:12 pm

[by Justin Levine]

Attended an entertaining lunch this afternoon which featured a discussion between the great Justice Alex Kozinski and legal blogger David Lat.

I thought one of the most notable items to come from the discussion was Kozinski’s confession that he hates it when attorneys cite one of his past cases in their arguments and then points out the fact that he wrote the previous opinion in trying to score points in the argument for their current case.  

In other words, when you come into court and argue, “Well Justice Kozinski, as you yourself pointed out in the brilliantly written 1998  [case of Y], legal precedent clearly favors my client in this [case of X] situation.”

Kozinski pointed out that you really aren’t trying to ‘butter up’ a judge in that instance. What you are really telling the judge is “You better agree with me in this instance, otherwise you are going to be contradicting yourself and will seem like a total doofus.”  

Kozinski said he doesn’t know of any other federal appellate judge who likes it when attorneys do this either.  

Appelate attorneys have been duly warned!

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