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Principles of Appellate Advocacy, Second Edition

  • Daniel P. Selmi
  • Rebecca Delfino
Series / Aspen Coursebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

Buy a new version of this textbook and receive access to the Connected eBook on Casebook Connect, including lifetime access to the online ebook with highlight, annotation, and search capabilities. Access also includes an outline tool and other helpful resources. Connected eBooks provide what you need most to be successful in your law school classes.

Appellate Advocacy books can overwhelm students with a disparate mixture of appellate rules, arcane procedural requirements, multiple writing instructions, practice tips, etc. This book avoids that problem by focusing on the most important aspect of appellate advocacy: how to write a persuasive appellate brief. It sets forth very specific, well-defined rules--adapted from the recommendations of experienced appellate practitioners and judges--for students to learn and follow.

Principles of Appellate Advocacy stresses three overreaching principles that students need to understand: (1) The perspective principle: putting the brief writer in the shoes of the judge; (2) The structural principle: building the brief around issues; and (3) The organizational principle: separating the thought process from the writing process.

New to the Second Edition:

  • Expanded coverage of standards of review, with explanations of the most commonly employed standards, examples from decisions using the standards and from briefs that apply them, plus exercises to assist students in recognizing the applicable standards of review.
  • Increased emphasis on the concept of appealable error and preservation of issues.
  • Additional exercises that require students to implement the rules for writing discussed in the text and to practice revision and editing techniques.
  • An updated sample appellate brief that implements the book’s rules for writing a brief.
  • A video illustrating the “dos and don’ts” of oral argument.

Professors and student will benefit from these features:

  • The direct, practical approach to teaching students how to write an appellate brief—the most important aspect of appellate advocacy. The concepts as presented are straightforward and accessible to facilitate understanding.
  • Students will learn and then implement specific rules that appellate experts nationwide agree are essential to good appellate writing.
  • The first edition has been proven effective by students in a very successful law school appellate program. This approach and these materials work.
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About the authors
Daniel Selmi
Loyola Law School Los Angeles

While in law school, Daniel Selmi was comments editor of the Santa Clara Law Review. After graduation, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Manuel L. Real, United States District Judge for the Central District of California. Selmi was appointed a deputy attorney general for the State of California, serving from 1976-83 in the Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law Sections. A lecturer at the University of California Irvine in 1979-80 and an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School from 1981-83, he joined Loyola's full- time faculty in 1983 and served as associate dean for academic affairs from 1990-93. He has also served as reporter to the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Committee for the Central District of California, and during the 1993-94 academic year he was a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington D.C. Professor Selmi is co-editor of the six volume treatise, California Environmental Law and Land Use Practice and co-author of the casebook Land Use Regulation: Cases and Materials . Over his career he has briefed over 30 appellate cases involving environmental and land use law, and he argued over 20 of those in the appellate court, including three in the California Supreme Court. He coaches the Law School 's student teams entered in the annual National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition and the California State Bar Section on Environmental Law's Annual Negotiation Competition. Professor Selmi has been a panelist on numerous occasions at the California State Bar Section on Environmental Law's Annual Conference at Yosemite . He has also been a panelist at both the Annual California Land Use Law and Planning Conference and the Los Angeles County Bar Section on Environmental Law's Annual "Super-Symposium". Most recently, he was a panelist at the First and Second Annual "Little NEPA" Conferences, sponsored by the American Bar Association's Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources. He has been a regular lecturer at the "Western Environmental Boot Camp" sponsored by the Environmental Law Institute, which educates new practitioners in the field of environmental law.

Rebecca Delfino
Clinical Professor of Law
Loyola Law School

div At Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, Professor Delfino’s work focuses on appellate law and procedure, the judicial branch, access to justice, and ADR.  She is also working in the areas of state and municipal law and governance as well as education law.  In addition to serving as the Director of the Externship Department, Professor Delfino teaches courses in appellate advocacy, negotiation and judicial process. Professor Delfino has also developed a unique and intensive summer advocacy “boot camp” at Loyola for advanced legal writing and oral advocacy.  In addition, she serves as the faculty advisor Loyola’s nationally recognized and award-winning Moot Court Program.   div Prior to joining the full time faculty of the law school Professor Delfino served as Lead Senior Appellate Attorney at the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Seven for 17 years.  During her tenure at the court of appeal she researched and prepared more than 500 bench memoranda and draft legal opinions in numerous areas of law from felony criminal cases, to complex civil litigation, to family law and probate, to juvenile dependency and delinquency matters. In addition to her full time position at the Court of Appeal, in 1999 Professor Delfino joined the adjunct faculty of Loyola Law School.  Professor Delfino is a member of the adjunct faculty of the Glendale Community College where she teaches a political science course focused on California State and Local Government and a course focused on the United States Federal government and politics at the national level.  Professor Delfino also serves as a “neutral” for the Los Angeles County Superior Court.  Since 1999 she has been mediator, arbitrator and judge pro tem. As a volunteer bench officer, Rebecca has presided over more than 100 limited civil arbitrations and small claims trials.    Professor Delfino began her legal career as litigator at Kirkland & Ellis and was later an associate at Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan in Los Angeles.  She handled all phases of civil litigation in a variety of cases from complex multi-party product defect and construction cases to white-collar criminal defense, to protection of intellectual property rights, to defense of employment discrimination and harassment claims. div During law school Professor Delfino had an externship with the Honorable William Shubb of the Federal District Court of the Eastern District of California in Sacramento. After graduation from law school she served on a clerkship with the Honorable Cliff Young, Associate Justice of the Nevada State Supreme Court. div

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Second Edition
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Appellate Advocacy
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