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Copyright (c) 1999 University of South Carolina
South Carolina Law Review

Appellate Advocacy: Effective Appellate Brief Writing

Spring, 1999

50 S.C. L. Rev. 581


The Honorable Clyde H. Hamilton *


I. Introduction
I enjoy drinking iced tea. And from my perspective, a well-written appellate brief is as refreshing as a glass of freshly brewed iced tea on a hot, July day. Unfortunately, if I depended upon reading well-written briefs for refreshment, I would die of thirst. Why? I wish I knew. While preparing a well-written appellate brief requires a great deal of time and effort, in my view the exercise is amazingly straightforward. Thorough preparation is the key - know the record backwards and forwards, know the relevant legal authority, know the applicable Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, and know that your client is depending upon you to present his or her case to the appellate court in the most persuasive manner possible.

Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 28(a), entitled "Appellant's Brief," outlines the required components of an appellant's brief to be submitted to a United States court of appeals. 1 Briefly listed in order, these components are: (1) "a corporate disclosure statement if required by Rule 26.1;" (2) "a table of contents, with page references;" (3) "a table of authorities;" (4) "a jurisdictional statement;" (5) "a statement of the issues presented for review;" (6) "a statement of the case;" (7) "a statement of facts;" (8) "a summary of the argument;" (9) "the argument;" (10) "a short conclusion stating the precise relief sought;" and (11) "the certificate of compliance, if required by Rule 32(a)(7)." 2 Rule 28(b) provides that an "appellee's brief must conform to ...
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