Thursday, March 26, 2015

ALA Hosts Seminar on How to Advise Trial Attorneys and Clients

By Scott Jacobson
Law Clerk to Hon. Susan F. Hutchinson, Illinois Appellate Court, Second District

On March 4, 2015, approximately 40 litigators from all over Illinois attended the Association’s March brown bag luncheon: Appellate Practitioners
 Advice to Trial Attorneys. Baker & McKenzie hosted the event in its Chicago office. The panelists featured ALA Secretary Joanne Driscoll, partner at the Forde Law Offices; past ALA president Karen Kies DeGrand, partner at Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth, LLC; and past ALA president Michael Pollard, partner at Baker & McKenzie. 

The well-received presentation was a mix of war stories and hard-learned lessons from a trio of litigators with roughly 90 years’ litigation experience between them. All of the presenters emphasized the importance of having an “appeals person” involved in litigation teams and client counseling. Pollard said, after a particularly colorful story wherein his calm advice ultimately won over his client’s trust, that an appellate lawyer’s greatest asset is the ability to “think globally and act locally.” That is, an appellate lawyer is trained to think beyond any one case, but can intercede with timely advice at the trial level in order to steer the matter towards a sustainable, and hopefully the most successful, outcome. 

ALA President Steven F. Pflaum was on hand to lend a personal touch to the discussion, and sharing a quick story involving each of the three panelists. During the Q&A portion, the panelists discussed a wide range of topics including interlocutory appeals as a matter of right, certified question appeals, and issues concerning the preparation of the record on appeal.

The ALA thanks the speakers for their thoughtful insights and Baker & McKenzie for graciously hosting the event. 

DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.