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Winning on Appeal: Better Briefs & Oral Argument

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Winning on Appeal: Better Briefs & Oral Argument [Paperback]

Ruggero J. Aldisert
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 16, 2003 1556818246 978-1556818240 2nd
Since it was first published over a decade ago, Winning on Appeal has been adopted by top-flight law schools for appellate advocacy courses. It also has become a popular desk reference on how to write an effective brief and deliver a persuasive oral argument. In this long-awaited Second Edition, Ruggero J. Aldisert, a forty-year veteran of the federal appeals bench, fundamentally reorganizes the book. By creating twenty-five chapters in place of the previous seventeen, Aldisert creates a wonderfully instructive how-to manual for the appellate advocate and a must volume for those who select appellate advocates.

In the Second Edition, Part 1, "The Theory and Criticisms of Written and Oral Appellate Advocacy," retains the same format as the earlier editions except that the tables of statistics are updated. The book continues its unique approach by consolidating current empirical data on the odds of prevailing on appeal or having a case orally argued. Part 2, "Technical Requirements for Briefs" contains a chapter on jurisdiction as well as a chapter on issue preservation and standards of review.

The major revisions to the Second Edition appear in Part 3 and Part 4. Aldisert designed the chapters in these sections to identify discrete requirements for an effective brief or argument, and to explain how to meet these prerequisites. Chapter 23, "How Top-Flight Appellate Lawyers Prepare" is new to the Second Edition. This chapter contains advice from outstanding appellate lawyers, true masters in oral advocacy, on how to prepare for oral argument.

Throughout the Second Edition of Winning on Appeal, nineteen current chief justices of state courts, nine chief judges of U.S. Courts of Appeals, more than twenty U.S. Circuit judges, and state appellate judges contribute their thoughts on how to write a brief and how to argue a case-information that is not available in any other publication or resource.

From cover to cover, Winning on Appeal is the quintessential handbook on how to write a brief and argue an appeal. Like removing the back of a watch to see what makes it tick, this book looks behind the bench in appellate courtrooms and behind chambers’ doors to expose exactly what the judges want to read and hear from lawyers. In an easy-to-read style, Judge Aldisert draws the perfect roadmap for the attorney who wants to win on appeal.

Editorial Reviews


Told from a judge’s viewpoint, book is an expose of appellate lawyering from the other side of the bench. -- Alex Kozinski, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Winning on Appeal is an impressive achievement. Appellate lawyers and judges will profit immensely from consulting it. -- William J. Brennan, Jr., Justice, U.S. Supreme Court (1957-1990)

From the Publisher

Aldisert is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 490 pages
  • Publisher: NITA; 2nd edition (July 16, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 1556818246
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556818240
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 6.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish I had read this first! September 17, 2005
If you are preparing a brief for appeals court, or if you are a law student preparing for moot court, you need this book. There is a 3 page list of the common errors made in briefs that should be torn out and mounted to your computer as you are writing. The book is written by Judge Aldisert and teaches you how to "catch" the judge, who is too busy to deal with your shortcomings in writing. Very worthwhile reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book on Writing I've Ever Read June 18, 2008
From high school through law school I've been subjected to many books on writing. It always seemed counterintuitive to me. Reading about writing made about as much sense as reading how to play basketball. Your time is much better spent on the court. This is the only book on writing I've ever found valuable. In fact, I found it so valuable that I've decided to write a five-star review.

Judge Aldisert really gives you a look inside of a Judge's mind. He provides insight into effective advocacy as well as the technical requirements of an appellate brief. Aldisert devotes a chapter to each section of the brief, including the Statement of Issues, Statement of Facts, Summary of the Argument, and more. Near the end he also provides some great tips for oral advocacy including both presentation and preparation.

Judge Aldisert masterfully blends his own views with commentary from a wide array of legal practicioners, judges, and scholars. You really get a feel for the legal community and not just Judge Aldisert. He also does a great job of including excerpts from briefs to drive his points home. He manages to pick just the right handful of sentences to serve his purposes. I really can't recommend this book enough!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Well-Written, To-the-Point August 18, 2008
As I've stated before, I am not a lawyer, law student, or other legal professional. I'm a guy who got involved in a contract dispute with the State, and this took me from an agency hearing through a judicial review in district court. Along the way, I found some great books which helped me understand how to cast my arguments in the proper legal fashion; terminology and cases are only part of this.

The other big part of this is the legal writing, and I found 2 books which I really enjoyed. Judge Aldisert's book is one; the other is Wilson Huhn's "The Five Types of Legal Argument". I found both of these books to have very accessible information which simply made sense, and I believe that lawyers would do well to read them as a means of making good briefs even better and more compelling.

The title of the review--"Fascinating, Well-Written, To-the-Point"--is really what Judge Aldisert is trying to get his reader to create, in terms of briefs. He begins by pointing out that very few cases are granted an appel, and even fewer win, but that the key to both can be compelling briefs. He notes that the appellate judge is besieged by all manner of briefs requesting some sort of appellate relief/hearing, and that "you" need to stand out, if possible.

Since Aldisert is "Senior United States Circuit Judge" and Chief Judge Emeritus of the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, he clearly knows whereof he speaks. SO LISTEN! LEARN! READ THIS BOOK! :-)

He gives his own views re: mistakes most often made in such situations, what he likes and doesn't like, and what his polling of other similarly-situated jurists has shown.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended by the Ninth Circuit April 22, 2011
By D
The Ninth Circuit has recommended this book. See Dela Rosa v. Scottsdale Mem. Health Systems, Inc., 136 F.3d 1241, 1244 n.2 (9th Cir. 1998) ("We strongly advise attorneys who intend to present a case to this court for the first time and, indeed, all attorneys who practice before this court to consider the wisdom contained in an insightful and intelligent book on the subject of appeals: Ruggero J. Aldisert, Winning on Appeal (NITA 1997).") (order) (case no. 96-17034).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gr8 for all jurisdictions November 14, 2012
By memel
As a finishing 1sr year student I wish I had read this book for the unit on legal process - it shows you how to write briefs. Fortunately I had read Judge Aldisert's articles which were a great help and now I am still in the process of reading the Judge's two books - an excellent help for law students and the general reader interested in how lawyer's think.
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