405.01 Appellate Practice

Please note: This course is offered only in the fall.  And those wishing to drop the course must do so within three days after the first class. 

The course introduces students to appellate advocacy and the appellate process. Students learn about strategies for effective appellate advocacy and refine their advocacy skills while briefing and orally arguing a case to an appellate judge. The central projects entail each student briefing one side of a case (researching and writing) and presenting oral argument for that side, with each student’s brief and oral argument reviewed by an appellate judge. This works as follows.  The entire class will be assigned the same case. Half the class will be assigned to represent the appellant and the other half will be assigned to represent the appellee. Each student will be paired against a student from the opposing side for briefing and oral argument. The class will have a briefing schedule with firm deadlines (deadlines coordinated with the appellate judges). Each student assigned to the appellant side will file an opening brief (the deadline for opening briefs historically has been in the second or third week of October, depending on when oral arguments are held); then each student assigned to the appellee side will file a brief responding to the paired student’s opening brief (that deadline is about a week after the opening brief deadline); then each appellant will file a reply brief (the reply deadline is about a week after the appellee’s deadline and historically has been around the very end of October or early November). Historically in this course the briefing volume limits have been set so that each student has been allotted no more than 10,000 words (a volume limit substantially lower than the limits prescribed by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure), which amounts to less than 35 pages in double-spaced 12-pt Times New Roman.  Oral arguments occur in mid-November, before Thanksgiving.  Each student meets (after oral argument) one-on-one with the judge who reviewed that student’s brief and argument.


Fall 2019

Course NumberCourse CreditsEvaluation MethodInstructorMeeting Day/TimesRoom
Simulated Writing, Litigation
Sean E. Andrussier
4:00-6:00 PM
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW.405.01.F19
Email list: LAW.405.01.F19@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Areas of Practice