Exam Prep: Appellate Law Certified Legal Specialist Exam (Civil) (CA)(Recorded in 2017)

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


If you would like to order the 2019 Home Study package, click here.

The CA Bar Appellate Law Specialist Exam is given every other year in odd years. This program was recorded in 2017. Here is your chance to study for the CA Appellate Law Specialist Exam with guidance from Certified Legal Specialists and former Commissioners who wrote and graded the exam in Appellate Law.

At this program you will get a thorough overview of the critical areas of civil appellate law and a jump start on your study routine. This carefully planned program will give you tips on how to  take the exam, what to expect on exam day and how to study for it. We will have a practice essay session with at least two questions found in the Bar’s sample packet, that will conclude with issue spotting and a review of how you could have best answered those questions.

By taking this course you can eliminate the stress that goes with the unknown when preparing for an exam and you can get guidance and subject matter review from those that have taken the exam previously (including those who just took it in 2015).

This course is for the Civil Appellate Law exam.

PLEASE NOTE: This program only addresses the CIVIL appellate law exam. It does not cover the criminal appellate law exam topics. Please call and ask for Faith to discuss your options if you are taking the criminal appellate law exam.

Please note: Because we cannot know exactly what specific questions and issues the bar will test on, and their “potential topic list” is vast, our program covers most of those topics that the bar lists they might test, but not all. This means that we cannot guarantee every single question or issue that appears on your exam is covered in our course (that would pretty much be impossible). We also strongly recommend you begin studying for the exam early – as early as summer. Last minute studying, even with the help of this course, is always a risky proposition when it comes to such a difficult exam covering so many areas of appellate law.


CA BAR INFO:  If you’d like more information from the California Bar Association about the exam and becoming a Citified Legal Specialist please click here.

Do you want to improve your public speaking skills? Get Faith Pincus’ newly published book Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys, from the ABA now (ABA members receive 10% off). It is also available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions.


Sponsored by:


What You Will Learn

Day one

8:30 – 9:30
Introduction, Specialization and Exams

  • What is specialization? What are the requirements?
  • Exam details
  • What is the exam like?
  • What to expect?
  • How to prepare / study plans
  • Practical considerations

9:30 – 10:15

  •  Duties to clients, opposing counsel and the court
  • Bases for attorney’s fees/costs
  • Bases for sanctions
  • Fee agreements
  • Arbitration/mediation and dual representation
  • Conduct resulting in malpractice/discipline
  • Conflicts of interest

10:15 – 10:30

10:30 – 11:45

  • Preserving issues in the trial court
  • Appealability
  • Standing
  • Notice of appeal and cross appeals Timing of notice of appeal/cross appeal
  • Designation and preparation of the record on appeal
  • Perfecting record on appeal
  • Stays, supersedeas, appeal bonds/bail

11:45 – 12:00
Q / A

12:00 – 1:00
Networking Lunch

1:00 – 2:15

  • Applications, motions, and requests
  • Correction/augmentation of the record on appeal
  • Judicial notice

2:15 – 2:30

2:30 – 3:45

  • Reviewing the record
  • Spotting issues
  • Legal research
  • Issue selection, strategy, and waiver
  • Overcoming procedural problems
  • Drafting and reviewing the brief
  • Filing and service requirements
  • Standard of review
  • Standard of prejudice

3:45 – 4:00

4:00 – 5:15
Post Briefing

  • Supplemental briefing
  • Oral argument
  • Petitions for rehearing
  • Petitions for review
  • Remittitur and post-remittitur issues
  • Preservation of issues and timing for Petition for Writ of Certiorari

5:15 – 5:30
Final Q & A

Day Two

9:00 – 9:30
Additional Test Discussion

9:30 – 10:45

  • Appropriate petitions for extraordinary writs
  • Procedural requirements for extraordinary writs
  • Review of writ orders

10:45 -11:00

11:00 – 12:00
Practice Test

1:00 – 2:00
Issue Spotting Discussion

2:00 -2:15

2:15 – 3:15
Practice Test

3:15 – 3:30

3:30 – 4:30
Issue Spotting and Final Q & A



Here is an email from an attendee at our 2017 program, after learning she passed: “I passed and you [faculty member Wendy Coats] were extraordinarily helpful. The Pincus Prep Course was a worthwhile investment overall … Thank you very, very, much.”

Testimonials from our 2017 Appellate Exam Prep:

“Excellent content and presentation…Excellent materials…Fantastic program. Thank you.” – Marisa Janine-Page, Esq.

“Very informative with theory as well as practical tips.” – John Yasuda, Esq.

“Ethics discussion was great.”

“Excellent program. Extremely helpful.”

“Very insightful and helpful knowledge about the California writs process…[Michael Colantuono was] excellent – very engaging and informative.”
“Excellent information…great seminar.”

“[Wendy Coats was] great…[Athena Roussos was] excellent!”
“Good ethics section.”

“[Athena Roussos was] excellent, very helpful. Writs were easy to follow.”
“Great presentation.”

These testimonials are from our previous Exam Preps for the CA Appellate Law Specialization:

“Don’t even think about taking the California Bar Exam for Appellate Specialization without first taking the Pincus prep course. A one of a kind presentation by appellate experts who are familiar with the exam and will prepare you for the big test.”  Jeffrey Lewis, Esq.

“I’m not sure if I ever told you just how helpful your study guide for the exam was for me.  It was just wonderful – and worked!”  Holly N. Boyer, Esq., Esner, Chang & Boyer

“Multiple choice questions and sample answers were very helpful.” Zareh Jaltorossian, Esq.

“Excellent seminar that prepared for the exam. Interesting panelists with incisive comments and suggestions.” Tom Freeman, Esq.

“I passed! In no small part thanks to you.”

“Yes, I did pass the appellate specialization certification exam – thanks in large part to your great course.”

“I was just certified this year.  I did take your course two years ago and found it extremely helpful in preparing for the exam and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of becoming a certified appellate specialist.”

“I passed the August Appellate Specialization Exam.  Ben Shatz, Jennifer King, and Scott Davenport gave a great program and provided very useful advice in preparing for the exam.  Thank you.”

“I just learned that I passed the Appellate Specialist Exam.  I didn’t attend your course in person, I had the CD’s; but the course really helped me pass the exam.  You did a nice job of treating the civil and criminal sides of the exam, I thought.  I found the course very useful and helpful.  Thanks to you and the panel who put it on.”

“I just finished my second listening to your Pincus program re the appellate specialization exam.  I sure do appreciate you putting the program together.  It helped shape my study plan and outline and is a great refresher.  Thanks for participating in it.”  J. Lewis, Esq.

“Very informative. I appreciate that the speakers were former exam authors.”  Cassidy Davenport, Esq.

“It was a good perspective and I appreciated what the speakers had to say.”

“Really appreciated the multiple choice questions.”

“Excellent, well-balanced panel. All highly knowledgeable.”

“The panel’s appellate experience really showed!  Great advice.”

“Very clear and helpful.”

“…Good perspectives on how the exam is written and how questions are phrased.”

“Got my money’s worth.”

“Great presentation!”

“I feel like I’m prepared to take the exam now.  Thank you!”

“Good materials.  The samples really help.”

“Teachers were great!”


Efrat M. Cogan, Esq.
Senior Counsel/Certified Legal Specialist in Appellate Law

Ms. Cogan is a California State Bar Certified Appellate Specialist.

Efrat M. Cogan is Senior Counsel in Buchalter’s Litigation and Appellate Practice Groups in Los Angeles. Ms. Cogan is certified as an Appellate Specialist by the California State Bar of Legal Specialization. Her practice areas encompass appellate, real estate and construction, copyright and unfair competition, class actions, professional liability, governmental and constitutional law.

Ms. Cogan has written “Executive Nonacquiescence: Problems of Statutory Interpretation and Separation of Powers,” 60 Southern California Law Review 1143, 1987. She has contributed to the California Municipal Law Handbook, published by the California League of Cities, and has co-authored “The ‘Empire’ Strikes Back: Effective Use of the False Claims Act” (2005). 

Ms. Cogan has been selected as one of Southern California’s Super Lawyers nine times (2004-2006 and 2008-2013) and was also selected as a Southern California Super Lawyer, Corporate Counsel Edition from 2009 to 2010. She currently serves on the California State Bar’s Advisory Commission.

Ms. Cogan earned her J.D. at the University of Southern California, where she was a staff member and articles editor for the Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Wendy Coats, Esq.
Fisher Phillips

Wendy McGuire Coats is an appellate attorney and leads the firm’s California Appellate Practice. She represents clients in all aspects of appellate litigation in state and federal appellate courts. She also prepares trial counsel for appellate consequences before, during, and after trial.

Wendy is a member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association Board of Directors, the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Council of Appellate Lawyer’s publication committee, and the California Women Lawyers amicus committee.

In 2016, she was named to Northern California Super Lawyers in Appellate Law, after being listed in Northern California Super Lawyers – Rising Stars in Appellate Law in 2009-2010 and 2012-2015.

Wendy clerked for the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew of the United States District Court, Central District of California.

In law school, Wendy was Editor-in-Chief of the Pepperdine Law Review. She won both the Vincent S. Dalsimer Moot Court Competition and the Armand Arabian Advocacy Tournament. At the 28th Annual Robert F. Wagner Labor & Employment Law Moot Court Competition, her team was named National Champions and she was awarded Best Oral Advocate in the Final Round.

Prior to law school, Wendy taught high school English, studied acting, lived in London, and was a Writing Fellow with the Missouri Writing Project.

Harry Chamberlain II, Esq.
Shareholder/Certified Legal Specialist in Appellate Law

Harry Chamberlain is a shareholder of Buchalter in Los Angeles and Sacramento. For 40 years, he has served as trial and appellate counsel for Fortune 500 companies, professionals, public and private sector clients in complex litigation. He is certified as an Appellate Specialist by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, handling hundreds of appeals across the country, including numerous cases before California Supreme Court and the highest courts of other states.

Before joining Buchalter, Harry was general counsel of a California-based commercial insurance group, and managed the law department for major U.S. liability insurers and financial service companies. He is past president of California Defense Counsel and the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, preeminent regional associations of civil defense trial and appellate lawyers. He writes and lectures widely on a variety of topics concerning the First Amendment, litigation practice and insurance law.

Michael G. Colantuono, Esq.
Partner/Certified Legal Specialist in Appellate Law
Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC

Michael G. Colantuono is a shareholder in Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, a municipal law firm with offices in Pasadena and Grass Valley. Chief Justice Ronald M. George presented him with the 2010 Public Lawyer of the Year award on behalf of the California State Bar Association. The Los Angeles Daily Journal named him one of “California’s Top Municipal Lawyers” every year since its list began in 2011. The Supreme Court appointed him the first Chair of the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California; he was previously President of the Bar. The State Bar has certified him as an Appellate Specialist and he is a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a prestigious association of fewer than 100 of California’s most distinguished appellate advocates.

Michael is one of California’s leading experts on municipal revenues and has appeared in all six Courts of Appeal in California. In addition, he has argued nine public finance cases in the California Supreme Court since 2004 and briefed two others.

Michael is City Attorney of Auburn and Grass Valley and general counsel of a number of LAFCOs and special districts and previously served six other cities and many special districts. He serves as special counsel to counties, cities and special districts around California.

Michael served as President of the City Attorneys Department of the League of California Cities in 2003–2004 and established its first Ethics Committee.

He served on the Commission on Local Governance in the 21st Century, the recommendations of which led to substantial revisions of the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act. Michael is General Counsel of the Calaveras and San Diego LAFCOs and serves as outside counsel to several other LAFCOs.

Michael graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a degree in Government and received his law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law of the University of California at Berkeley.

He frequently posts comments on local government and municipal finance topics to Twitter ( @MColantuono ) and LinkedIn ( Michael Colantuono ).

Wendy C. Lascher, Esq.
Partner/Certified Legal Specialist in Appellate Law
Ferguson Case Orr Paterson LLP

Though Wendy Lascher is one of California’s best-known appellate lawyers, her work on behalf of clients often begins well before an appeal. By crafting motions and consulting on trial strategy, Wendy helps clients either avoid appeals in the first place, or to be well-positioned to win cases on appeal. 

After nearly four-decades at her appellate-focused boutique, Lascher & Lascher, Wendy brought her practice to Ferguson Case Orr Paterson in 2011. She brought with her a California State Bar-certified appellate specialty in which she has represented clients in front of the United States Supreme Court, many times before the California Supreme Court, multiple U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, and in every California Court of Appeal district. She has also handled cases in state and federal trial courts. 

Wendy has handled a wide range of appeals involving multinational corporations, municipalities and other government entities, complex family law, Death Row and other criminal cases, employment, real estate development, bankruptcies and other matters. 

Previously a president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, she regularly features in Los Angeles Magazine’s "Super Lawyers" roundups of top lawyers as well as its listings of the "Top 100 Southern California Super Lawyers" and "Top 50 Women Super Lawyers," and she is Av-Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbard. She also regularly lectures at the Ventura and Santa Barbara Colleges of Law and regularly speaks about appellate law and other matters for a variety of legal organizations. Widely published in legal journals, she is also the long-time editor of CITATIONS, the newsletter of the Ventura County Bar Association. 

Wendy has been a mentor with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Ventura County since 2008. She has also served as a board member at First National Bank of Ventura, Channel Counties Legal Services, the KCLU advisory board, and the Planned Parenthood Ventura Advisory Council. When not working or volunteering, Wendy enjoys gardening, early morning workouts, hiking, and spending time with her family. She is also a student pilot and expects to acquire her private pilot’s license in 2017. 

C. Athena Roussos, Esq.
Certified Specialist in Appellate Law
C. Athena Roussos, Attorney at Law

C. Athena Roussos is a Certified Specialist in Appellate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.  Athena handles civil appeals of nearly every type, representing businesses, individuals, and nonprofit organizations in appellate courts throughout California. She also works closely with trial lawyers to formulate winning strategies in civil cases at all stages of litigation.  

Athena serves as a court-appointed mediator for the Third District Court of Appeal and is a member of the Court’s Mediation Program Committee.  Athena is also a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers.  She has been quoted by the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee on appellate law issues and has been honored as a top appellate attorney in Sacramento by Sacramento Magazine, the Sacramento Business Journal, and Northern California Super Lawyers.  Athena’s practice is located in Elk Grove, California.


Jack Russo, Esq.
Managing Partner
Computerlaw Group LLP

Jack Russo is the founding partner in the Palo Alto law firms of Computerlaw Group LLP and Russo & Hale LLP (www.computerlaw.com). The firm’s focus is in representing entrepreneurs and early and growth stage companies in the protection of their ideas, inventions, and businesses.

The firm specializes in the areas of Internet, e-commerce, software and other intellectual property protection, infringement, and licensing. Mr. Russo originated some of the early thinking on IP protection of the “look and feel” of computer software and he has been involved in a number of software cases. His 1985 article, Copyright in the “Look and Feel” of Computer Software, published in The Computer Lawyer, pioneers the subject. 

Mr. Russo is a member of the State Bars of California, New York, and Washington, D.C.  He holds his JD from UCLA School of Law as well as dual M.B.A. degrees from Columbia University and from UC Berkeley‟s Haas School of Business; he also holds a joint Bachelor‟s and Master‟s degree from City University of New York in Urban Administration and Computer & Information Science. 

Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Russo worked full-time as a computer programmer and software analyst in New York. Mr. Russo is a Judge Pro Temp for the Santa Clara Superior Court and an Arbitrator and a Mediator for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California as well as for the American Arbitration Association.  He has an active alternative dispute resolution practice and has acted as a neutral in over 100 cases in many diverse intellectual property and business law cases in the federal and state civil litigation contexts. 

Mr. Russo is a frequent speaker and has presented often to the ABA, PLI, Pincus Professional Education, and the Computer Law Association; he is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Creativity in Dispute Resolution, a non-profit organized to assist in the research and study of resolutions of complex multi-party disputes in the federal and state courts nationally as well as internationally.




Audio Course and Materials Package – Download: $725

Audio Course and Materials Package – CD: $725 $200

CDs: plus $8.50 shipping and, in CA, sales tax.

*New orders only, while supplies last.

CLE Credit

CA General: This program is approved for 8.0 units of general CLE in California, including 0.75 units of ethics credit.

CA Certified Legal Specialist:  This program is approved for 8.0 units of Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California in Appellate Law.

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.


Terms and Policies

Recording policy: No audio or video recording of any program is permitted.

Seminar Cancellations: Should you be unable to attend for any reason, please inform us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the event and a credit voucher will be issued. If you prefer, a refund, less a $50 non-refundable deposit, will be issued. No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations received within 14 days of an event. However, if you notify us within 14 days of an event, and wish to convert your in-person attendance registration to an Audio CD package (with handout), we can do so. A small additional shipping charge, and sales tax in CA, will be incurred. No shipping charge is incurred for downloads. We will also issue a voucher for the amount paid if you notify us within 14 days and prefer not to have the audio recording.

Substitutions may be made at any time.

Webinars, Tele-seminars and Webcast Cancellations: Once log-in codes and passwords are issued for a webinar, tele-seminars or webcasts, a refund is not possible. If for any reason you cannot attend the event after you have received the codes, we will automatically convert your registration to an instant streaming/instant download or CD format and provide you with the information you need to access the recording after the program concludes and the recording is available.  Conversions to CD require a $8.50 shipping fee, and in CA, 9% sales tax.

Downloads/CDs/DVDs – Refund policy:

Downloads are non-returnable/non-refundable once purchased and received. Tapes, CDs and DVDs are returnable for a full refund or replacement if defective, within 90 days of purchase.

Reminder: The room temperature at hotels and other seminar locations are notoriously hard to control. Please bring a sweater or jacket in case it gets cold and/or layer as if you are going to the movies so you are comfortable.

$200.00$725.00 each

Recorded in 2017.