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I don’t talk politics here, but it’s hard to ignore what happened to the intermediate Texas appellate courts last night. Statewide, dozens of incumbent justices—many of whom are great at their jobs and deserved to keep them—were swept out of office, some by challengers who are either completely unknown or who have little to no experience representing clients before appellate courts. The new justices will have to learn fast. “New judges school” and those left…
Justice Bob Pemberton has departed the Third Court of Appeals before his term was set to expire on December 31, 2018. Governor Abbott wasted no time appointing Mike Toth, the Republican candidate for Justice Pemberton’s open seat, to fill the vacancy. Justice Toth must defeat the Democratic candidate, Travis County District Judge Gisela Triana, to keep his new job. Justice Pemberton served the Third Court and the people of Texas faithfully and honorably. His experience…
This is the fifth and final installment of my series on mobile lawyering for appellate practitioners. To easily access the entire series, click here. By this point, you should have the equipment and the software to get your work done from the road. This post discusses some special considerations for working efficiently and securely. Troubleshooting Tech Problems Practicing from the road requires a certain amount of independence. Working outside the office—away from coworkers who…
This is the fourth installment in my series on practicing appellate law from the road. The others are available here. This post addresses methods for continuing your daily work without access to your office or laptop computer. Highlighted below are various apps that will help keep things moving. Microsoft Office As mentioned earlier in the series, an Office365 annual subscription gets you free access to apps from Microsoft that match up with the same…
This is the third installment in my series on practicing appellate law from the road. To see the others, click here. You’ve chosen your hardware (laptop, tablet, or smartphone) and the basic software you’ll need to be productive. Before going on the road, you must also consider how your information will be organized and accessed to enhance your productivity while traveling. Digital Files The appellate world has largely become digital. This coincides with the…
This is the second post in my series on practicing appellate law from the road. The introductory post is available here. Effective mobile lawyering requires some up-front preparation. The hardware you’ll take with you is a threshold consideration. Basic Hardware A laptop, tablet, and smartphone are the key tools for practicing remotely. The hardware needed to practice from the road depends to some degree on the depth of the work you’ll be doing. If…
Think about what Texas appellate practice was like a decade ago. Courts required paper filings, and filing fees were paid by check. Appellate records existed only in paper form. Briefs had to be completed in time for the right number of copies to be made and either hand-delivered or dropped in the mail to ensure timely filing and service. Making an after-hours post-office run to ensure the “mailbox rule” was satisfied was not unusual. Accomplishing work while traveling generally…
The Appellate Sections of the Austin Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas are once again co-sponsoring “An Evening with the Supreme Court of Texas.” This event—which has been held biennially since 2008—will take place on Thursday, March 1, 2018, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel here in Austin. One hour of CLE credit has been requested. As in the past, the justices will participate in a panel…
In this inaugural post for 2018, I’d like to announce a significant change in my firm. As of January 1, 2018, Smith Law Group has become Smith Haley Nobles. I started this firm in 2006 as a sole proprietorship. Solo life was great, if somewhat solitary. I enjoyed enough success the first couple of years that I had more work to do than time to do it. Growing the firm made sense, so I formed a…
If it seems to you that there are many more appeals of attorneys’ fees these days, you’re right. Appeals involving attorneys’ fees have risen steeply over the last seven years. There is something happening in this area of the law, and we need to be keeping up with it, because it is directly relevant to our clients and our practices. The numbers Between 2011 and 2017, there were at least 922 Texas appellate decisions…