I will be speaking this week at the Dallas appellate section lunch.

The main topic is one that I’ve wanted a good excuse to explore: Testing the Conventional Wisdom of Appeals. Here’s the overall concept —

As appellate lawyers, we develop through our own experience a kind of intuition about which strategies make a difference on appeal. Those intuitions become tips or advice, or once repeated at enough appellate CLEs, our shared conventional wisdom about strategy.

Can the accuracy of our shared assumptions and conventional wisdom be tested against real data?

I am lucky enough to already have a large pool of (mostly) well-structured data about the Texas Supreme Court in particular. Because the Texas appellate courts now require native PDF e-briefs, it has increasingly been possible to connect each petition to the outcome.

The task I set for myself was testing how some of our conventional wisdom about Texas Supreme Court practice holds up under empirical scrutiny. When the conventional wisdom fits the data, we can be more assured in giving our clients strategic advice. When it doesn’t fit the data, we need to go deeper.

What I’m sharing on Thursday is a kind of “working paper” of my progress so far, with some interesting early results. Either at the program or later, I’d also appreciate feedback about which pieces of conventional wisdom you the appellate bar would like to see more deeply tested against real-world data.

I am also preparing a light dessert course of E-Briefs for Advocates, with a few pointers for the lawyer who might rely on others to execute the technical steps.

Event Information

Thursday November 21, 2013
Belo Mansion in Dallas
Dallas Bar website

Here’s the email that was circulated announcing the event:

Please join us at the Belo Thursday of next week, November 21, 2013, at noon for the section’s regular monthly meeting. Don Cruse (The Supreme Court of Texas Blog, http://www.scotxblog.com/) will speak on “Testing Conventional Wisdom on Appeal.” One hour of CLE credit is available. NOTE: There is a “JFK Public Forum” going on at the Belo at the same time. So, come early to ensure parking.