Advisory Opinion: A Former Third Circuit Judge’s Tips for Winning on Appeal

May 2020
Hon. Thomas I. Vanaskie (Ret.) and Peter J. Adonizio, Jr.
On Appeal: Bar Association for the Third Federal Circuit Newsletter

Before reentering private practice, I was a federal judge for over 24 years, the final eight of which I had the tremendous honor of serving on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. As a circuit court judge, I reviewed thousands of briefs, heard scores of oral arguments, and addressed countless motions and emergency matters. Some of these cases were high-profile. Many were complex. Others, while diligently analyzed by the judges and their clerks, involved comparatively straightforward issues that were more easily resolved. Through all of these cases, however, I developed a mental checklist — a proverbial “dos and don’ts” list — for effectively presenting a case on appeal. To that end, I hope the following suggestions will be useful to the bar, new and veteran advocates alike.

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