Appellate Advocacy

Sarah Elizabeth Spencer
Sarah Elizabeth Spencer Committee Chair Spencer Willson PLLC Salt Lake City, UT

About the Committee

A famous British jurist once said, "If no appeal were possible… this would not be a desirable country to live in." The same can be said of this country. The members of the DRI Appellate Advocacy Committee believe that a strong appellate judiciary is a key to fairness in our judicial system. The ability to appeal an adverse judgment is an important check on arbitrariness or lawlessness by trial judges and juries. Confidence in our judicial system would decline if litigants did not have the comfort of knowing that appeal is an option.

Appellate specialists play an important role in maintaining confidence in our legal system. Busy appellate judges must rely on appellate counsel to educate them about the cases on appeal. This puts a premium on analysis and writing. Appellate lawyers must be able to properly analyze the case and write a cogent, powerful brief. When appellate counsel demonstrates this ability, the quality of appellate opinions improves.

In the end, that is the mission of the DRI Appellate Advocacy Committee. We seek to improve the appellate system by improving the quality of appellate lawyering. Whether you are a full-time appellate lawyer, or make only an occasional appearance in appellate courts, our committee can help raise your game.

Members of our committee showcase their writing abilities frequently, through publications such as our biannual newsletter, Certworthy, and the monthly "Writers' Corner" columns in For The Defense. Our committee members have made writing their avocation, so there is much to learn by reading their articles.

Another function of our committee is to assist DRI in its amicus efforts. Our Amicus Subcommittee supplies amicus authors for the cases selected by the DRI Amicus Committee. In this way, we help ensure that DRI's voice is heard on important defense-related issues.

The DRI Appellate Advocacy Committee is the one national group devoted to the needs of defense-oriented appellate lawyers. Come join us in our mission.

Additional Resources