If you ever practice before the North Carolina appellate courts, you should know of several helpful resources that seasoned appellate practitioners regularly consult to help them avoid pitfalls — including a few new resources that have been released in the past six months.
First, the Appellate Rules Style Manual, which is published by the North Carolina Bar Association's Appellate Rules Committee is, hands-down, the best "practical" resource for formatting your submission in North Carolina's appellate courts. In addition to examples of common appellate documents, the manual also contains useful tips about how the Rules of Appellate Procedure are applied in practice. This manual is improved and updated annually (usually during the summer), so check to be sure you have the latest version.
Second, the Appellate Rules Committee recently released two brand-new Oral Argument Guides for Counsel for Cases Argued in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of North Carolina. These guides are designed to help counsel prepare for oral argument and to answer questions about tradition and protocol before North Carolina's appellate courts. (For example, "At which counsel table do I sit when I am orally arguing a case?") In creating content for the guides, the Appellate Rules Committee sought guidance from North Carolina's appellate judges and justices regarding the most common mistakes that they see. The Appellate Rules Committee also released an Oral Argument Comparison Chart that highlights the similarities and differences between oral arguments before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. If you get an oral argument notice, be sure to read these recently released guides as part of your preparation.
Third, the North Carolina Appellate Rules and Procedures Checklist is a resource designed by the appellate practice team of Smith Moore Leatherwood to assist attorneys and their legal assistants in tracking appellate deadlines, tasks, and fees. The checklist also provides corresponding cross-references to the North Carolina Appellate Rules and Appendices.
All of the resources described above can be found on the North Carolina Appellate Practice Blog(www.ncapb.com). This blog, which is dedicated to issues of North Carolina appellate practice and procedure, has a "Rules and Practice Guides" page (www.ncapb.com/resources/practice-guides) with all of the above resources, the appellate rules, and several other practical guides. The blog also has a page dedicated to free and paid legal research websites. (http://www.ncapb.com/resources/research). Finally, the blog includes regular postings highlighting new and emerging appellate pitfalls, including practical tips for avoiding or dealing with common appellate problems.
Beth Brooks Scherer is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Appellate Practice and a member of Smith Moore Leatherwood's appellate and litigation practice groups. You can reach Beth at 919.755-8790 email@example.com .
About the Author
Beth Brooks Scherer
Beth Brooks Scherer is a Board Certified Appellate Practice Specialist with Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP in Raleigh. She is the current chair of the North Carolina State Bar’s Appellate Practice Specialization Committee and prior chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee. She blogs frequently on issues of appellate practice and procedure for the North Carolina Appellate Practice Blog, www.ncapb.com, a convenient source of news, information, tips, and resources for practicing law in North Carolina’s State and Federal Appellate Courts.