Appellate and Writ Practice 101: The Nuts and Bolts (CA Civil) (Recorded Package and OnDemand Streaming)

Audio program! (check our CLE Programs page for live versions)

Want to attend this program live? Click here to register for live attendance.

Discounted rates are available for 2-4 attorneys at your firm – please contact us for a discounted per person rate. Please also contact us for a license if you would like to distribute the video package or OnDemand Streaming access to more than four attorneys at your firm.

If you are new to civil appeals and writs, you definitely need to take this seminar. You might even want to take it if it’s just been a while and you’d like a refresher. We haven’t held this program in many years, and there is no more thorough beginner-level appellate practice program available, so this is your chance to attend

At this program you will learn all about filing, briefing and arguing a civil appeal, even how to look at whether you should file it or not. You’ll get detailed explanations about the steps and tasks involved in an appeal, the rules and timelines, and appellate court customs in California as well as the complicated area of civil writs.

Part 1 begins with the basics – an overview of how appeals are processed and resolved, the importance of appearing the correct order or judgment, factors to consider, applications, motions,  reading the record, standards of review, and curing defects. It is the foundation of your introduction to appeals in California.

Next up, after a short break, comes a terrific 90 min session on how to draft an effective brief – a critical part of your appeal. This session, taught by two appellate specialists and an appellate justice, will cover your preliminary briefing steps, general drafting tips, effective Statements of Factual and Procedural Background, effective arguments and how to revise your briefs. The final session of Part 1, also taught by a justice and an appellate specialist, focuses on your Oral Argument. And even though most appeals are decided on the briefs, and Oral Argument is becoming less and less frequent, it is still an essential part of your appellate practice knowledge – because you never do know when you’re going to giving one.

The Oral Argument session will cover the basics as well – the process, scheduling, how a panel is picked, timing, rules and what happens after you argue. Your faculty will move on to discuss strategy, planning and preparation, including topics such as reasons to argue and when to waive, plans, technology, moot courts, understanding your justices’ objectives, and what they expect from you. Your faculty will then spend the bulk of their time discussing how to nail your argument. This part of the Oral Argument session includes topics such as rapid question identification and categorization, effectively addressing hypothetical questions, and navigating policy concerns. They will also discuss topics such as how to deal with a hot or cold bench and hostile questions, arguing cases of first impression, and they will wrap with in-person and online presentation tips.

Part 2 is equally comprehensive and invaluable.  Your faculty will get into the nitty gritty of decisions and publication (taught by a specialist and a justice), Petitions for Rehearing, and costs on appeal.  Since no 101 program is complete without advising you of your ethical responsibilities (beyond being civil), a specialist will get into the important appellate ethics rules you need to know (and you will receive Ethics credit).

Part 2 wraps with an in-depth 90 minutes on the ever complicated subject of writs.  Two writs experts and a justices will cover stays pending appeal, the differences between appeals and writs, types of writs, writ petitions and factors that favor or disfavor writs, to name a few.

Please take a look at the agenda tab for more details and topics that will be discussed.

As you can see from this description, this is a comprehensive overview of what you absolutely need to know if you are new to appeals, or haven’t handled one in a while. Don’t miss it! We don’t hold this one that often and we have fantastic justices and appellate specialists speaking (and answering your questions too).

And if you are looking for an introductory level program on appeals at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – look no further!  We held our comprehensive, two-part Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts program September of 2023 and it was fantastic!  We had several 9th Circuit Judges speak, as well as staff and former law clerks.  You can purchase that download or DVD here.We highly recommend it if are new to appeals at the Ninth Circuit, or even if it’s just been a while and you’d like a refresher.


This is a beginner level program, covering the nuts and bolts. If you’d like a more advanced appellate program, we have our annual Advanced Appellate Practice programs. Please go here to see that list as well as other appellate related programs, including our Persuasive Appellate Brief Writing course (which can also be found here). We also have appellate bundles. You can find out more about those here.


This program will be recorded live on July 30 and August 1, 2024 and is available via On-Demand or Recorded Package Download.  One person per order may view the recording.  Discounted rates are available for 2-4 attorneys at your firm.  Licenses are available for  law firms or agencies that would like to distribute the video package or OnDemand Streaming access to more than four attorneys at their firm or agency.

OnDemand Streaming!  On-Demand Streaming allows for a single person to view the seminar unlimited times until one year after the seminar is held. If you prefer On-Demand Streaming, be sure to select On-Demand Streaming on the right, instead of the Recorded Package download or DVD.

Recorded Packages!  Recorded Packages allow for a single person to download and view the program recording and are also available via DVD or CD.

Recorded Packages or On-Demand streaming are one per person per order.    



Improve your presentation skills!

Are you interested in improving your presentation skills in or out of court?  There’s no better moment than now to take action!  You’ll find Faith Pincus’ book, “Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys,” published by the ABA invaluable when it comes to improving your presentation skills.

To order a signed paperback directly from us at a discounted price, including free shipping, click here.  The book is also conveniently available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats.

You can also order her DVDs teaching presentation skills – for attorneys or in a corporate setting – here. Faith has been training attorneys and executives in presentation skills, including coaching, since 1989. Don’t miss this opportunity to improve your presentation skills. Be Heard. This time. Next time. Every time.

What You Will Learn

Speakers: Randee J. Barak, Gisselle S. Bourns, Jay-Allen Eisen, Polly Estes, Tracy L. Fehr, Rex S. Heinke, Adam W. Hofmann, Susan Horst, Judy E. Posner and John Stobart 

Court Clerks:  Eva McClintock, 2nd DCA

Justices: Hon. Daniel Bromberg, Hon. Martin N. Buchanan, Hon. Shama Hakim Mesiwala, Hon. Maria E. Stratton and Hon. Alison Tucher

Part 1: 1:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Tuesday, July 30

1:00 p.m. – 2:05 p.m.
The Basics: Getting Started
Randee Barak, Judy Posner and Eva McClintock (clerk of the court)

  • How appeals are processed and resolved
  • The importance of appealing the right order or judgment
  • Factors to consider before taking an appeal
  • How to file an appeal
  • Appellate applications and motions
  • Presumption of correctness
  • Creating the Record
  • Standards of review and prospects for reversal
  • Curing defects (in the notice of appeal, the record, etc.).
  • Stays pending appeal

2:15 p.m. – 3:35 p.m.
Drafting Effective Briefs
Justice Shama Mesiwala, Adam Hofmann and Polly Estes 

Preliminary Steps 

  • Determining Issues to Be Resolved and Choosing the Strongest Arguments
  • Checking for Preservation Problems
  • Framing Issues to Account for the Standard of Review

 General Drafting Tips

  • Outline
  • Where to Begin?
  • Issue Statements and Introductions
  • Supporting All Assertions with Citations
  • Use of Descriptive Headings
  • Formatting and Overall Readability

 Effective Statements of Factual and Procedural Background

  • Slanted Objectivity
  • Including All (and Only) Relevant Information

Effective Arguments

  • Organizing Based on Strength and/or Relative Simplicity
  • “Why I Win; Why They Lose”
  • IRAC: Not Just for Law School
  • Confronting Legal Weaknesses and “Bad Facts”
  • Anticipating Arguments
  • Leaving Nothing on the Table
  • Conclusions


  • Organizational Flow and Streamlining
  • Making It Shorter
  • Using the Table of Contents and Table of Authorities
  • The Difference Between Revising and Editing and the Importance of Each

3:45 p.m. 4:45 p.m.
Oral Argument
Justice Maria E. Stratton, Justice Daniel Bromberg and Tracy Fehr

The Basics: Process

  • Scheduling
  • Whether or not, and why, oral arguments get scheduled by the court
  • How is the panel selected?
  • What is the usual timing?
  • What are the most important rules?
  • What happens after your argument?

Strategy, Planning and Preparation

  • Reasons to argue and when to waive
  • Argument plans, argument notebooks and argument technology
  • Practical preparation and practice techniques
  • Moot courts: Who, why, when and how?
  • Understanding judges’ objectives during oral argument
  • What are judges are expecting from you?
  • Maximizing limited time

 Nailing your Argument

  • Rapid question identification and categorization
  • Effectively addressing hypothetical questions
  • Navigating policy-related concerns
  • Scouting the court
  • Divide and conquer? When, if ever, should you split argument?
  • Dealing with a Hot Bench
  • Dealing with a Cold Bench
  • Coping with hostile (and other) questions
  • Tips for Arguing Cases of First Impression
  • In-person presentation tips

Part 2: 1:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Thursday, August 1st

1:00 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.
Decisions & Publication
Justice Martin Buchanan and Rex Heinke

  • How decision evolves in chambers
  • Why decisions are published or not
  • Obtaining publication or de-publication
  • Use of unpublished decisions.

1:20 p.m. – 1:35 p.m.
Petitions for Rehearing
Justice Martin Buchanan and Rex Heinke

  • When is a rehearing petition necessary or appropriate?
  • What gets them granted
  • What happens when the court grants a rehearing
  • Advising client whether or not to petition for rehearing.

1:35 p.m. – 2:25 p.m.
Costs and Fees on Appeal
Jay-Allen Eisen

  • Which costs can be recovered
  • Which party is entitled to costs
  • Sanctions for frivolous or bad faith appeals
  • Procedure to recover costs
  • Record keeping to obtain fee award
  • Evaluating prevailing party determinations
  • The role of experts in determining the amount of fees 

2:30 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.
John Stobart 

  • Duties of competence, candor and disclosure to clients and the court
  • Bases for sanctions
  • Fee agreements
  • Arbitration/mediation and dual representation
  • Conduct resulting in malpractice/discipline
  • Conflicts of interest
  • The substantial relationship test and informed consent after Sheppard Mullin v. J-M Manufacturing – when it gets real on appeal.

3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Justice Alison Tucher, Gisselle Bourns, Susan Horst

  • Stays pending appeal
  • Extraordinary nature of Writs: The differences between Appeals and Writs
  • Types of Writs in Civil Cases
    • Mandate
    • Prohibition
    • Certiorari
  • Structure of Writ Petitions
  • When and When Not to File a Writ Petition
  • Reviewing Petitions — What Happens in the Court of Appeal
  • Factors Favoring and Disfavoring Writ review — What the Justices Consider
  • Types of orders and their effect


These testimonials are from our last Civil Appellate and Writs 101 program, held in 2014.  The agenda has changed.  Randee Barak is returning as a faculty member and we have three times the number of faculty as we had in 2014, including more justices.  Many of the faculty members at this year’s program have taught other appellate related programs to rave reviews.  Check out our faculty list.

“I just finished the 6.5 hours of Demystifying Civil Appeals and Writs. It was excellent. Even as an experienced appellate attorney, I enjoyed it and learned a number of things. [Speakers] were excellent also!” Honey Kessler Amado, Esq.

“This was an excellent program. Each of the faculty members was well prepared, articulate, and engaging. The program itself contains valuable ‘nuts and bolts’ as well as more sophisticated and subtle suggestions for representing a client on appeal.” Stephen D. Miller, Esq.

“I have found that the speakers at Pincus’ seminars are the most knowlegable and real-world experienced.” Denise Greer, Esq.

“Really liked the focus on process & practicalities.” Susan Beneville, Esq.

“Great overiews. I really liked ideas for process in writing the opening brief.” Nancy Doig, Esq.

“I wanted a practical overview of appellate litigation and this program delivered that.”

“This presentation was excellent. I wanted a look behind the scenes of the Court of Appeal, and this delivers.” Rachel Cook, Esq.

“I truly feel prepared now to begin my appellate practice after this seminar.” Enid Perez, Esq.

“Excellent knowledge of appellate procedure; also provided good common sense approach to solving problems that occur during the preparation of briefs and oral arguments. The seminar was very well presented. As a participant who is familiar with appellate practices in both the state and federal courts, I became better informed.”

“Very on-point and strategic. Excellent information. Succinct!” Anna Deckert, Esq.

“I liked the range of backgrounds – clerks, practitioners and justices.” Matthew Poelstra, Esq.

“Excellent help to an appellate practitioner.” Gary Bostwick, Esq.

“Very good; nice to hear about the inner workings of the Court of Appeal.” John Fagan, Duane Morris, LLP

“I thought the session was very informative and helpful.” Richard Rahm, Esq.

“All the speakers were excellent because they were concise and their comments were focused. Extremely efficient three hours that went very quickly!” Douglas Gordon, Esq.

“Some of the best content and most relevant advice I’ve received at a CLE in a long time. Great panel!” Chris Whitman, Esq.

“Excellent balance of basic & advanced topics, presentation, and questions.” John Harding, Esq.

“I tend to be a tough grader – the program and the speakers were all excellent!”

“As an appellate attorney, I feel I gained additional insight into this court’s process.” Kelly Savage, Esq.”

“Ben Shatz is an effective moderator, engaging and articulate. Senior Appellate Attorneys Randee Barak and Pablo Drobny provided valuable tips gained from their experience at the Court of Appeal. Assistant Clerk/Court Administrator Danny Potter shared important information concerning clerk office procedures for handling writs. This program was not only valuable but fun!” Stephen D. Miller, Esq.

“This was a very informative session. A lot of basic plus more in depth information was provided. Everyone was very informative & helpful with providing info re: writs. I learned a lot and understand Writ Practice a lot better now. The speakers were great. Thank you.” Jeanne Kuo, Esq.

“Great seminar for nuts & bolts.” Suzanne Alves, Esq.

“Interesting and helpful.” Kim Lewis, Esq.

“Excellent seminar!” Paul Killion, Esq.

“Great program. I learned a lot.” John A. Mills, Esq.

“Overall a very informative and helpful seminar.”

“Helpful tips on what to include and how to formulate briefs.”

“Great inside information & good practical delivery.”

“Excellent seminar.”


Hon. Maria E. Stratton
Presiding Justice
California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District

Justice Stratton was born in Santa Monica, California and raised in San Diego, her father’s last duty station in the United States Navy.  She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Southern California and received her law degree from Boalt Hall at the University of California, Berkeley (now Berkeley Law).   She served as law clerk to United States Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson at both the U.S. District Court (before his elevation) and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.   

After clerking, Justice Stratton worked as a Deputy Federal Public Defender at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.  She was an associate at Overland, Berke, Wesley, Gits, Randolph and Levanas for a short time before joining Talcott, Lightfoot, Vandevelde, Woehrle & Sadowsky where she practiced criminal and civil litigation for ten years as an associate, partner, and a managing partner.   

In 1993, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit appointed Justice Stratton as the Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California where for twelve years she directed an office of 60 attorneys representing indigent federal criminal defendants at the trial and appellate levels and on post-conviction habeas corpus review.   She has served on the Ninth Circuit Capital Case and Capital Cost Oversight Committees and the Ninth Circuit Gender Bias Task Force Los Angeles Working Group.    

In 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Justice Stratton to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, where she served as Assistant Supervising Judge of the mental health departments of the criminal division, Assistant Supervising Judge of the Van Nuys courthouse, and Supervising Judge of the probate division.   From 2006 through 2018, she tried over 60 civil and criminal cases to jury verdict and presided over hundreds of civil and criminal bench trials.  Justice Stratton is also active in bench and bar education.   

Hon. Alison M. Tucher
Presiding Justice
California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District

 Alison M. Tucher was sworn in as Presiding Justice of the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three, on August 30, 2021, after serving three years as an associate justice in Division Four.  Before joining this court, she was a judge on the Alameda County Superior Court, where she sat in family law and criminal court assignments and chaired her court’s committees on judicial education and juror participation.  Justice Tucher also sat as a pro tem on the First District Court of Appeal, Division Two.

Justice Tucher grew up in the Bay Area.  She left to attend Williams College, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in economics and winning a scholarship to study at Cambridge University, where she received a B.A./M.A. in engineering.  Justice Tucher then worked in national security and arms control in Washington, D.C. before returning to the Bay Area to earn a J.D. from Stanford Law School.  At Stanford, she served on the editorial board of the law review and graduated Order of the Coif.

After law school, Justice Tucher served as a law clerk for Judge William A. Norris on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justice David A. Souter on the United States Supreme Court.  She then spent three years trying criminal cases in Santa Clara County Superior Court as a Deputy District Attorney.

In 1998, Justice Tucher joined Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco, where she practiced law until her appointment to the bench at the end of 2013.  At the firm, she handled a variety of intellectual property and commercial cases in trial courts, appellate courts, and private arbitrations.  Benchmark Litigation listed her among the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” nationally and among “Local Litigation Stars of California.”  Justice Tucher also maintained an active pro bono practice, twice winning freedom for men wrongfully convicted of murder.  For one of these cases, she received the President’s Service Award from the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association and was profiled on CBS News’ The Early Show as an “American Hero.”

While practicing law, Justice Tucher served on several non-profit boards and lectured in law schools, co-teaching a Stanford Law School class on trade secrets. She currently serves on the Judicial Council of California’s Criminal Law Advisory Committee and Tribal Court-State Court Forum, and on the Association of Business Trial Lawyers’ Board of Governors.  She speaks and writes on a variety of legal topics and is a member of the American Law Institute.


Hon. Daniel H. Bromberg
California Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District

 Daniel H. Bromberg was appointed to the Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2023. 

From 2019 to 2021, Justice Bromberg served as a Deputy Secretary for Legal Affairs in the Governor’s Office, where he supervised lawyers in the California Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resource Agency, Department of Transportation, and Department of Food and Agriculture. During this period, Justice Bromberg also supervised litigation concerning, among other things, the border wall and COVID-19 restrictions. 

Both before and after serving in the Governor’s Office, Justice Bromberg was in private practice. He began his career as an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York, working primarily on First Amendment matters. He subsequently moved to JonesDay in Washington, D.C., where he became a partner in the appellate practice. In 2005, he moved to California to join Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, where he helped found the appellate practice group and remained until joining the Governor’s Office. After leaving the Governor’s Office, Justice Bromberg joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in San Francisco as the head of the firm’s appellate practice. 

Mr. Bromberg graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in history from Yale University and magna cum laude with a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review. He clerked for the Honorable Louis F. Oberdorfer on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit and then for the Honorable A. Raymond Randolph on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 

Justice Bromberg has taught continuing legal education classes on writing and appellate practice. In addition, in 2021 and 2022, he was a senior research fellow at the California Constitution Center at the Berkeley School of Law. During the same period he was a senior appellate practice fellow in the Center for Litigation and the Courts at UC College of the Law, San Francisco and the founding director of the California Appellate Advocacy Project. 

Hon. Martin N. Buchanan
California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District

 Justice Martin N. Buchanan was nominated to the Court of Appeal by Governor Gavin Newsom and confirmed in May 2022. Before his appointment, Justice Buchanan was an appellate lawyer for nearly 35 years. He litigated approximately 400 appeals and writs in state and federal courts, mostly as a sole practitioner. Justice Buchanan also worked as a partner at a civil appellate firm, a research attorney at the Court of Appeal, a staff attorney at Appellate Defenders, Inc., and a law clerk in federal district court.

Justice Buchanan is married with two adult children. He received his law degree from Harvard University in 1986 and his bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1983.

Hon. Shama Hakim Mesiwala
California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District,

 Justice Mesiwala devoted her legal career to public service.  She represented indigent criminal defendants at the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Sacramento and the Central California Appellate Program, where she argued cases before the California Supreme Court and California Courts of Appeal.

Justice Mesiwala then transitioned to working for the judiciary. She was a central staff attorney at the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District for one and a half years, followed by a chamber’s attorney for Justice Ronald B. Robie for 11 years. She was appointed commissioner in 2017 and 10 months later, judge of the Sacramento County Superior Court. In her six years on the trial court, Justice Mesiwala presided over criminal jury trials, civil jury trials, civil bench trials, civil law and motion, civil settlement conferences, preliminary hearings, juvenile dependency, drug court, mental health hospital hearings, state hospital hearings, civil harassment restraining order hearings, collaborative courts, and small claims. She created Northern California’s first Indian Child Welfare Act courtroom. And she served as the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) judge for the Hall of Justice.

On Valentine’s Day 2023, Justice Mesiwala was unanimously confirmed as an associate justice on the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, having been nominated by Governor Gavin Newsom. She was rated exceptionally well qualified, the highest rating given by the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE).

Shama Hakim Mesiwala is a native Californian, born in Stanford in 1974 and raised in Cupertino among the fruit orchards and burgeoning technology industries of Silicon Valley. Her father immigrated from Mumbai, India in the 1960’s for educational opportunities and freedoms found only in America. She attended all public schools, graduating from UC San Diego magna cum laude in three years. She started law school at UC Davis King Hall at age 20 and graduated in 1998.

Justice Mesiwala is active in the community. She has been professor of Appellate Advocacy to over 700 students at UC Davis Law School for the past eleven years; president of the Schwartz/Levi American Inn of Court; cofounder of the South Asian Bar Association of Sacramento and host of its annual Diversity Law Student Reception for 16 years; and member of the California Supreme Court Ethics Opinion Committee.

For her community service, Justice Mesiwala has received the UC Davis Law School’s pro bono certificate, the Unity Bar community service award, the Women Lawyers of Sacramento Frances Newell Carr award, the King Hall Legal Foundation’s judge of the year award, the ally award from Sacramento’s LGBTQ+ bar association SacLegal, the president’s award from the Asian Bar Association of Sacramento, and named a Sacramento Bee top 25 Asian American/Pacific Islander change maker.

Randee J. Barak, Esq.
Adjunct Faculty
Loyola Law School

Randee Barak has been a Senior Appellate Attorney at the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District since 1999. 

Prior to coming to the Court of Appeal, Ms. Barak specialized in business and health care litigation for Sidley Austin, working in both its Litigation and Appellate Practice groups.  Ms. Barak graduated with honors from UCLA School of Law in 1992 and, following graduation, served as law clerk to the Honorable Judge Arthur Alarcon on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

A member of the Los Angeles County Bar Appellate Courts Committee, she is the co-chair of the “Appellate Court Experience program (ACE),” a program developed in conjunction with the Constitutional Rights Foundation to educate Los Angeles County area high school students about the appellate court system. 

In 2008 the Constitutional Rights Foundation honored Ms. Barak as “Lawyer of the Year for the Public Sector.”  She is the author of several articles on litigation and appellate practice. 

Gisselle S. Bourns, Esq.
Sr. Appellate Court Attorney
California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three

Gisselle Bourns is a senior appellate attorney at the First District Court of Appeal and the writ attorney for Division Three, staffing all criminal and civil writ petitions for the division. 

She previously worked at the Administrative Conference of the United States, an agency tasked with making recommendations to federal agencies for improving the efficiency of rulemaking, adjudication, and other administrative processes. 

Before that, she practiced international arbitration and civil litigation at a private law firm.  Gisselle was a law clerk at the Hawaii Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.  She graduated Order of the Coif from Berkeley Law.

Jay-Allen Eisen, Esq.
Outside Counsel
Downey Brand LLP

Jay-Allen Eisen is regarded as one of California’s top appellate attorneys. He has been counsel in more than 300 appeals and appellate writs, over 120 of which have resulted in published, precedent decisions.

Jay-Allen was one of the first Appellate Law Specialists certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. He has prosecuted and defended civil appeals, writs, and motions in a wide range of civic appeals including business litigation, professional licensing, probate, environmental law, constitutional law, administrative law, real property, and family law.

Jay-Allen Eisen is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a Past President of the California Academy of Appellate Attorneys. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America©, U.S. News Best Lawyers® and Northern California Super Lawyers every year since each publication began listing appellate attorneys. He has the highest rating, AV® Preeminent™, from Martindale-Hubbell. In 2010 he was awarded the Jim Pfeiffer Award for outstanding service to the legal profession from the Conference of California Bar Associations. 

Polly J. Estes, Esq.
Managing Partner
Estes Law Group

With 29 years of experience in state and federal courts, Polly has successfully tried numerous bench and jury trials in such diverse areas as class actions, freedom of speech and freedom of religion, securities fraud, tax regulation, riparian rights, eminent domain, professional liability, and high-dollar insurance bad faith.  But it is in the appellate arena where Polly really shines.  She has spent 15 years of her career working for state and federal appellate courts, where she helped judges evaluate the merits of more than 500 civil, criminal, and administrative appeals.  On a daily basis, Polly defended her analysis through oral presentations, extensive memoranda and proposed dispositions, often working under intense time pressure.  After debating the merits of cases with judges at all levels of the judiciary for more than two decades, Polly knows how to persuade both judges and juries successfully.  She knows how judges think, what questions they want answered, and the time constraints they face.  

Polly’s expertise has been recognized by the California State Bar.  She is Board Certified as an expert in Appellate Law.

Before starting Estes Law Group, Polly served as the Chief Law Clerk to the Honorable Carlos T. Bea on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for eight years.  As Judge Bea’s Chief Law Clerk, Polly supervised and trained the other law clerks and externs, a position she loved because it was essentially “teaching the best law school class ever.”  She was also the chief editor and “problem solver,” often called in to help the Judge and other clerks think through complex problems.  She also helped evaluate cases for en banc calls and wrote speeches for the judge, all while handling a full load of cases herself.

While at the Ninth Circuit, Polly participated in all aspects of the appellate process, including drafting bench and en banc memoranda, opinions, dissents, orders, and memorandum dispositions.  These cases spanned all areas of federal law, including securities fraud, antitrust, class actions, environmental, social security, and immigration, to name just a few.  She also handled several state law areas through diversity jurisdiction, such as insurance law and contracts.

Polly also served as a staff attorney in the Motions Unit at the Ninth Circuit for more than three years, a position which allowed her to work with each of the judges on the court.  As a motions attorney, Polly orally presented dozens of cases each month to a panel of three judges, explaining the case and the proposed disposition she had drafted.  She handled emergency motions, which often required her to call judges at home after hours so they could work through the emergency together on an expedited basis.  This position gave the judges on the court an opportunity to get to know Polly and to know how her mind works.  It also gave Polly a vast amount of experience in presenting cases to the judges.  She is therefore comfortable in oral arguments, which gives her a strong advantage over opposing counsel.

Polly also has state court experience, having served as a briefing attorney to The Honorable Catherine Stone at the Texas Court of Appeals for the Fourth Judicial District, and as an extern to The Honorable Lloyd Doggett at the Texas Supreme Court.

In addition to working for courts, Polly worked for six years for two prominent national law firms—Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld and Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal (now Dentons).  While at these firms, Polly handled a number of trials and appeals, most notably high-exposure bad faith insurance trials and appeals for State Farm, USAA, and Allstate.  She was often brought in to handle the appeal when another firm lost at trial.  Polly won each of these appeals.

Polly has extensive experience writing amicus curiae briefs in courts around the country to help shape the law that affected the firm’s clients.  Polly kept an eye on cases throughout the country and when one presented the appropriate facts, she brought it to her client’s attention and then wrote an amicus curiae brief on their behalf to assure the law developed in their favor.

Polly worked her way through college and law school.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Colorado cum laude, with a double major in Marketing and International Business, and a minor in International Economics.  She received many honors during her time there, including Phi Beta Kappa and the Golden Key Honor Society.  She earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin, where she served as an editor on the Texas International Law Journal and a recipient of the Robert S. Strauss Presidential Scholarship.  She studied at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the University of London through Duke’s study abroad program.

Polly is admitted to practice in California (2000), Texas (1993), the Northern District of California, the Western District of Texas, the Ninth Circuit, and the Fifth Circuit.  She is a member of the San Francisco, Fifth Circuit, and Ninth Circuit Bar Associations, and the Texas State Bar College.

Polly’s publications include:  A Legal Theory of the Use of Experts in Insurance Claim Adjustment, Vol. 23 No. 5 Ins. Litig. Rep. 140 (2001);  Preservation of Error:  Filing a Lawsuit Through Presentation of Evidence, 30 St. Mary’s L.J. 997 (1999);  Homeowner’s Insurance:  Coverage and Liability, Texas State Bar’s Advanced Ins. Law Course (1997);  Handling Extra-Contractual Claims (Defense Perspective), U.T. Ins. Law Inst. (1996).


Tracy L. Fehr, Esq.
Alexander Morrison + Fehr LLP

Tracy Fehr is a founding partner of Alexander Morrison + Fehr LLP, a plaintiff‐side employment and civil rights firm located in Century City. Ms. Fehr primarily represents employees in appeals, negotiations, and litigation.

Ms. Fehr developed a passion for appellate work after handling and winning all three parts of a consolidated triple appeal over a decade ago, preserving a single mother’s six‐figure verdict and reversing a low attorney fee award for remand and recalculation.Thereafter, Ms. Fehr began handling her firm’s appeals and writs and expanded her practice to take on appeals for other firms and attorneys. Her most recent published decisions include: Bassett Unified School District v. Superior Court (Ross) (2023) 89Cal.App.5th 273, discussing judicial ethics and affirming the trial judge should not be disqualified, preserving a million retaliation verdict; and Doe v. Superior Court (NaHoku) (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 346, a case of first impression in the First District regardingan employer’s waiver of its right to binding arbitration by failing to pay on time. Ms.Fehr frequently co‐counsels and consults on appellate and employment matters and enjoys mentoring newer attorneys.

Ms. Fehr is a member of the Executive Board of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), Chair of its Amicus Committee, and editor‐in‐chief of its employment law Bulletin. She was also recently invited to join the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s State Appellate Judicial Evaluation Committee. Ms. Fehr has been named a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers Magazine every year since 2017. In 2020 and 2024, the Daily Journal named her one of the Top Women Lawyers in California.

Rex S. Heinke, Esq.
Complex Appellate Litigation Group LLP

Rex Heinke is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished and experienced appellate practitioners in California, and among the best in the nation. He has argued more than 150 appeals in federal and state courts across the country. Between 2001 and 2020, Rex was co-head of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s nationally renowned Supreme Court and Appellate practice.

He is regularly called on to defend major corporations and high-profile individuals in some of their most hotly contested appellate matters.Rex has extensive experience before the California Supreme Court, the California Court of Appeal, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as other federal and state appellate courts. Rex’s victories have led to reversals of individual judgments worth more than billion and dramatic changes in law to the benefit of his clients.

Rex is also a respected leader in First Amendment, intellectual property, entertainment, media, and Internet-related appellate litigation. He has frequently represented newspapers, magazines, television networks, motion picture studios, websites, and entertainment production and distribution companies in their litigation and appellate work. He is the author of BNA’s treatise on Media Law.

He has received many awards for his accomplishments.

Chambers USA has named Rex one of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the “Litigation: Appellate” section every year since 2012. He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America guide for nearly 30 years, and in 2018 was named to both the Daily Journal‘s list of the Top 100 Lawyers in California and the National Law Journal‘s Appellate Hot List. The Legal 500 business litigation guide has included him as one of the nation’s top appellate lawyers for state and federal Supreme Courts since 2019. And he was twice named California Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer Magazine. In 2019, the Friends of the Los Angeles County Law Library awarded Rex with the prestigious Beacon of Justice Award, in honor of his “vision, advocacy and passion for justice.” In 2020, Public Counsel Law Center awarded him its Pro Bono Award for “providing outstanding and impactful service to those in need.”

Rex is a past president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and member of the California Judicial Council and State Bar Board of Governors.He serves on the boards of directors of the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, and the Topsy Foundation, a children’s charitable organization in South Africa.

Rex received his law degree from Columbia Law School.

He clerked after law school for the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Frederick Heebe. His undergraduate degree is from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he was the student body president and an anti-apartheid activist.

Adam W. Hofmann, Esq.
Deputy Judicial Appointments Secretary
Office of California Governor Gavin Newsom

Adam serves in the Office of California Governor Gavin Newsom as the Deputy Judicial Appointments Secretary, supporting the work of Judicial Appointments Secretary Luis Céspedes.Adam is an Appellate Specialist, certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization.

Previously, Adam served as the Co-Chair of Hanson Bridgett’s appellate practice group. He represented both public and private clients in civil writs, appeals, and mandate proceedings. He has briefed and argued cases in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and every District Court of Appeal in California and has filed merits briefs in two U.S. Supreme Court cases.

His practice focused on representing cities, counties, and special districts in writs and appeals relating especially relating to public finance and revenue measures, as well as land use, civil rights, employee benefits, labor standards, and election law. He has represented water districts and cities in a range of disputes regarding rates, fees, and charges, including work on some of the leading cases interpreting related provisions of the California Constitution, including the California Supreme Court’s decisions in Jacks v. City of Santa Barbara and City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District.

Outside of the office, Adam has coached regionally and nationally competitive moot-court teams at UC Davis School of Law. He also speaks and writes on questions of local government authority and policy under the California Constitution and is an adjunct professor who taught courses in local government and land use law at the University of San Francisco School of Law. Prior to joining Hanson Bridgett, Adam was also an extern in the chambers of the Honorable Martin J. Jenkins.

Susan Horst, Esq.
Complex Appellate Litigation Group, LLP

Susan Horst is a specialist in writs of mandamus and prohibition in the California appellate courts. For more than 31 years, Susan served as the writ attorney for the California Court of Appeal for the First District, Division One, in San Francisco. Susan is one of the only practicing attorneys in California to have devoted virtually her entire career to appellate writs. As writ attorney in the First District, Susan evaluated thousands of pre- and post- trial writ petitions in all types of civil and criminal matters. In the process, she learned precisely what the justices on the Court of Appeal look for before taking the extraordinary step of granting writ relief — and what an opposing party needs to highlight to have the best shot at getting a petition denied.

Susan’s three decades at the Court of Appeal gave her both extensive writing experience and a wide-ranging knowledge of substantive law. Susan’s casework ran the gamut from business and commercial litigation, to personal injury and employment matters, to real estate, insurance, and products liability cases, to professional negligence, disqualification, and privilege issues. The procedural postures of the writ petitions she handled were equally wide-ranging, and included pleading defects and class certification, sealing of court records, discovery disputes, summary judgment, settlement, and enforcement of judgments.

Her practice today focuses on writ petition consulting in the appellate courts and trial court work in anticipation of writ relief. Susan also lectures widely on writ practice and procedure. She has presented seminars to the San Francisco City Attorney, District Attorney and Public Defender Offices, the State Bar of California, California Continuing Education of the Bar, The Rutter Group, PINCUS Professional Education, bar associations across California, and the Center for Judicial Education and Research. She is the co-author of Chapters for Continuing Education of the Bar publications, as well as training materials for numerous continuing education lectures.

Susan’s career at the Court of Appeal followed motion and jury trial skills she developed early on as an Assistant District Attorney in San Francisco. She holds her J.D. from the Santa Clara University School of Law, where she graduated summa cum laude — even though she attended law school part-time at night, while working as a full-time administrator at Stanford University during the day. She also has her B.A. in English from Stanford.

In her spare time, Susan is an adviser to the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyer’s Association.She also volunteers on the Advisory Board of Advokids, a foster children’s advocacy group, and provides pro bono advice and representation through the Advokids Appellate Project.

Eva McClintock, Esq.
Clerk/Executive Officer
California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District

Eva McClintock is a Supervising Deputy Clerk with the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District. She has spent the majority of her 17+ years with the court as a divisional deputy for Division Seven. Most recently, Ms. McClintock has shifted her focus to the area of electronic filing and the development of processing procedures. Ms. McClintock is a member of several California Courts of Appeal work groups that are working on multiple projects, including, enhancing the Court’s case management system, the procurement and development of a document management system and appellate staff development programs. Prior to joining the court, she worked at the State Bar of California, Office of Admissions as an Administrative Assistant. 

Judy E. Posner, Esq.
Partner, Certified Legal Specialist in Appellate Law
Benedon & Serlin, LLP

Judith (Judy) E. Posner has been an attorney at the appellate boutique law firm of Benedon & Serlin, LLP since 2015 and a partner since 2021. She previously worked as a Senior Judicial Attorney at the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, for Presiding Justice Frances Rothschild in Division One (2010-2015) and for Presiding Justice Dennis M. Perluss in Division Seven (2001-2007). In addition, Judy was of counsel at Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May (2001) and Reed Smith (2007-2010) and an associate at Horvitz & Levy LLP (1995-2001) and Sidley & Austin (1994-1995). Judy attended the University of California, Los Angeles (B.A., History, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, College of Honors 1990) and UCLA School of Law (J.D. 1993), where she was a member and editor of the UCLA School of Law, Women’s Law Journal. Following law school, Judy served as a law clerk to the Hon. Melvin Brunetti (Dec.) on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1993-1994). Judy is a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a Certified Specialist in Appellate Law by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. She was selected to the Southern California Super Lawyers, in Appellate Law, 2005-2006, 2019-2023 and recognized by Best Lawyers in America, in Appellate Law, 2019-2023, U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers.

John Stobart, Esq.
Senior Counsel
Capstone Law APC

John Stobart is a senior counsel with Capstone Law. His practice focuses on representing employees and consumers in complex litigation, primarily wage-and-hour class actions and PAGA representative actions. He has significant complex and long-cause trial experience gained through an entire career dedicated to litigation. John is also a Certified Specialist in Appellate Law, as designated by the State Bar of California, and has extensive experience, having drafted over two dozen writs, petitions, and appeals. His appellate experience includes amicus work in the California Supreme Court on behalf of Bet Tzedek on Kim v. Reins, 9 Cal.5th 73, and the 2019 Daily Journal Reversal of the Year Award for his work in the Ninth Circuit on Nguyen v. Nissan N.A., No. 18-16344 (9th Cir. 2019).

Prior to joining Capstone, John defended against civil liability in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases brought against his clients, which included the railroad, public schools, small businesses, and commercial and residential landowners. He has drafted and argued scores of dispositive motions at the trial court level and had success in upholding judgments and verdicts on appeal. He graduated cum laude from Thomas Jefferson School of Law where he was on the mock trial competition team and earned his undergraduate degree from the Ohio State University.

John is admitted to practice law in California and before the United States District Court for the Eastern, Central, and Southern Districts of California and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third and Ninth Circuits.


Seminar Materials are included with OnDemand and all recorded package options.

OnDemand Streaming!  On-Demand Streaming allows for a single person to view the seminar unlimited times until one year after the seminar is held.

Recorded Packages!  Recorded Packages allow for a single person to download and view the program recording and are also available via DVD or CD.

Discounted rates are available for 2-4 attorneys at your firm.  Licenses are available for law firms or agencies that would like to distribute the video package or OnDemand Streaming access to more than four attorneys at their firm or agency.


OnDemand Streaming:  $429

Recorded Packages via Download or CD/DVDs:

Video Recording – DVD or Download: $429

Audio Only (for in your car, etc.) Recording – CD or Download:  $429

Order both the Video and Audio Only Packages for only $50 more – Download, DVD or CD: $479

$8.50 shipping and sales tax (in California) are added at checkout to DVD/CD orders.

This program will be recorded live on July 30 & August 1. Because we record our seminars live and they are edited, OnDemand Streaming and Recorded Packages are available approximately two to three weeks after the seminar is held.

Your OnDemand access is good for up to one-year from the time of purchase.  Please be sure to select OnDemand Streaming to the right and check out. OnDemand can be watched from any type of device.

*The Video recording is a video of the webinar (with sound). The Audio Only recordings are audio files only and are for those who wish to listen to it without watching a video (such as in the car or while walking).

Note: OnDemand Streaming can be watched from any device. However, all download packages must be downloaded to a computer first, before transferring them to another device due to downloading as zip files containing both the video/audio and a large folder with seminar materials contained in the download package.


CLE Credit

CA General: This program is approved for 7.00 units of general CLE in California.
CA Ethics/Professional Responsibility: Approved for 0.5 units.
CA Participatory Certified Legal Specialist: This program is approved for 7.00 hours of Legal Specialization Credit in Appellate Law. (Expires 07/29/2026)
CA Self Study (only) Certified Legal Specialist (for recorded packages): This program is approved for 7.00 hours of Legal Specialization Credit in Appellate Law. (Expires 07/29/2029)

NY General: This course is eligible for approval, under New York’s CLE Approved Jurisdiction policy, for up to 7.00 CLE units. Pincus Professional Education is a CA Accredited Provider, which is a NY approved jurisdiction. See Section 6 of the New York State CLE Board Regulations and Guidelines for further information.

This program is approved for CLE in the states listed above.  Upon request, Pincus Pro Ed will provide any information an attorney needs to support their application for CLE approval in other states other than what is listed above. Many attorneys ask for this and are approved in other states.

$429.00$479.00 each

Recording/Recorded live on July 30 and August 1, 2024