I am frequently asked by new lawyers for a list of books that I think they should acquire as they set up their practices. A new book, the Alabama Appellate Practice Guide by Ed R. Haden, Chair of Balch & Bingham, LLC‘s Appellate Focus Team, came across my desk this week, and I’ve added it to my list, for a couple of very different reasons.
First, although my appellate practice experience is limited to three cases a very, very long time ago, it looks like a pretty good and useful book to me. As the book’s foreword states, it is intended to provide a basic, “how-to” guide to appellate practice (other than domestic relations and criminal matters), and it does this with step-by-step insturctions for preserving and presenting error. Chapter 1, Preserving the Record, includes a Preservation of Error Checklist which begins with the complaint and moves all the way through post trial motions and creating the appellate record, outlining the potential pitfalls and providing the controlling cases, as well as additional jurisprudential rules of appellate procedure. There are also chapters on review of final and interlocutory orders and advisory opinions and certified questions; when, where and how to appeal; staying judgments; creating the record and briefing and arguing; petitions for cert; and appellate mediation. All in all, it looks like a very valuable resource which brings together a lot of law with the sort of unwritten knowledge that is often gained only through a lifetime of mistakes or near-misses.
The other reason I’m adding the book to my list is because, in addition to being a concise and useful book for those who are not already well-schooled in the minutia of appellate practice, it is a masterful piece of client development work. Written with corporate counsel and chief legal officers, as well as his fellow lawyers, in mind, the author begins each chapter with an In-house Counsel Tip and ends the book with a chapter on why it’s important to involve an appellate lawyer from the beginning of the litigation process in extremely important cases. Then, the chapter provides information on the particular skills and expertise of each of the members of the Balch & Bingham Appellate Focus Team. If you’re looking for ways to ethically illustrate to clients why your law firm can add value, this book is a very nice example of how to go about it.
The book was published by Balch & Bingham, LLP, and copies are available for $25 by calling (205) 251-8100 or (334) 834-6500. ISBN: 0-933339-24-0.
FTC Blogger Swag Disclaimer: The Alabama State Bar received a free review copy of this book and, by chance, it ended up on my desk.