Appellate Briefs - October 2012: Introducing...Frequently Asked Questions

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At least a few times a week, I answer questions from other attorneys about trial strategy or appellate issues, without charge or expectation of any reward, and I enjoy those conversations.  And so I am thinking of a new topic for this e-newsletter, at least for a few editions to see if it pans out.  I am hoping to provide a little useful generic advice, answering some of the frequently asked questions trial lawyers pose. How can I help you?  Send along any questions (please don't make them case-specific) you would like to see answered, and meanwhile, I’ll kick it off with what may be the most frequent question, on which appellate lawyer opinions vary: 

Should I have a court reporter at every court appearance?

 
Yes.  There, I’ve said it, let the criticism fly!  Seriously, some seasoned trial and appellate lawyers may disagree because there can be a tactical advantage to not having a transcript in the event of an appeal if you are the appellee.  Of course, there can be and often are tactical advantages to the appellee from having a transcript, and if you are the appellant, you want a transcript every time.  And therein lies the problem: it is the rare instance in which a trial lawyer can be sure of the outcome before the hearing starts or to know what else might occur at the hearing, making it difficult to decide in advance whether a court reporter should attend.  Given the extremely rare instances in which the absence of a court reporter would be indisputably the best choice, my default answer to this question is yes, you should have a court reporter attend. 
Send in Your Questions
Do you have a question you've always wanted to ask an appellate attorney? Here's your chance! Email your questions to Marie and you just may find the answer you've been searching for here next month!
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Marie Tomassi is Florida Bar Board  Certified in Appellate Practice. She has been an attorney with Trenam Kemker since 1988 and serves on the firm's three person Management Committee. She can be reached at mtomassi@trenam.com or 727-820-3952.