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Exam Prep. Course: CA Appellate Law Specialist Exam (Civil only) (CA)(Live in 2017)

The CA Bar Appellate Law Specialist Exam is given every other year in odd years and the next exam is Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. Here is your chance to study for the CA Appellate Law Specialist Exam with guidance from Appellate Law 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 (the practice test answers will not be graded, just discussed).

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).

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.

Early Study Special: Order our 2015 Exam Prep audio package and you can apply $300.00 of the price towards your 2017 exam prep course enrollment or audio. Make a note in the comments section of your order and we’ll contact you to process your 2017 registration by hand or call us at (877) 858-3848 for the special coupon code.

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.

Please note: If you took this course in 2015 and did not pass the exam, please call us about a special rate at (877) 858-3848.



Click here for the Bar’s requirements regarding the exam and qualifications to be a specialist.  

If you want to take the exam, register early! They have vastly reduced the cost of taking their exam this year (and have waived the extra fee they used to charge to use a computer). The bar has asked us to pass on their registration fee list for you to take their exam:

CA Bar Fees for taking their Legal Specialist Exam in 2017*:

If full payment is received by the bar on or before May 1, 2017: $100
If full payment is received by the bar on or before Sept. 1, 2017: $250
If full payment is received by the bar on or before Oct. 2, 2017: $350

*please note, these are the fees the CA Bar will charge you to take their exam. We are not affiliated with the bar and these are not related to the cost of our courses.

Need a room?

If you would like to stay at the program hotel, The DoubleTree Hotel, they are offering a 10% discount. You may register at this link for any rate and a 10% discount will be applied automatically. Please enter “Catering Discount” when it asks for Company Name.


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

Dates and Times and Locations

August 10, 2017 – Day One
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (includes networking lunch)
Check in between 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

August 11, 2017 – Day Two
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (lunch on your own)
Check in between 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

The DoubleTree Downtown Los Angeles
120 South Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Parking:  Discounted $15 valet and $10 self park at hotel. Enter through valet/main entrance on Los Angeles Street.

(Be sure to arrive at least ten minutes before start time if you want to make sure you have a good seat)

Need a room?

If you would like to stay at the program hotel, The DoubleTree Hotel, they are offering a 10% discount. You may register at this link for any rate and a 10% discount will be applied automatically. You do not need to enter our program or company name.



“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
Buchalter Nemer

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

Efrat M. Cogan is Senior Counsel in the firm’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 W.R. Chamberlain II, Esq.
Shareholder and Certified Appellate Specialist
Buchalter Nemer P.C.

Harry W.R. Chamberlain II is a Partner in the firm’s Appellate and Insurance Practice groups. His practice emphasizes appellate and regulatory law, complex litigation and employment law representing professionals and business organizations with special concentration on post-trial remedies, writs and appeals. 

Mr. Chamberlain is Past President of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel and 2010-2011 President of California Defense Counsel, the nation’s largest regional bar associations of civil defense trial attorneys.  He is certified as an Appellate Specialist by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, and has argued hundreds of appeals, representing clients before the California Supreme Court and the highest courts of several jurisdictions. He was voted by his peers as one of Southern California’s Super Lawyers from 2005 to the present, and is AV-Rated by Martindale Hubbell “preeminent” in Insurance Law.

He has served as general counsel to a California professional liability insurer, and from 1992-1994, managed the law department of a national group of U.S. property and casualty insurers.  In addition to his trial and appellate practice, Mr. Chamberlain is often engaged as an expert witness and consultant in cases involving professional liability, legal ethics and insurance issues.  He lectures and writes extensively on a variety of topics concerning business litigation, First Amendment rights, and alternative dispute resolution. 

Mr. Chamberlain earned his J.D. at the University of California, Hastings College of the    Law where he was an associate editor of Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly and justice (president) of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. He received his B.A. summa cum laude from San Diego State University. He is admitted to practice in California, North Carolina and the District of Columbia and before the United States Supreme Court.

Michael G. Colantuono, Esq.
Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC

Michael has specialized in municipal law since 1989. He is certified by the California State Bar’s board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in Appellate Law and is also a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, an association of fewer than 100 of the most distinguished appellate lawyers in California. He has argued five cases in the California Supreme Court and appeared in all six of the California District Courts of Appeal.

Michael has expertise in a broad range of areas of concern to local governments in California, including constitutional law, land use regulation, open meetings law, elections law, municipal litigation, conflicts of interest, public utilities, LAFCO issues, and a wide range of public finance issues involving taxes, assessments, fees and charges.

Michael is perhaps California’s leading expert on the law of local government revenues, handling six cases on that subject in the California Supreme Court since 2004. California Chief Justice Ronald M. George presented him with the 2010 Public Lawyer of the Year Award on behalf of the California State Bar. The Speaker of the California Assembly appointed him as a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Bar, the state agency which regulates the practice of law in California. His fellow Trustees elected him Treasurer of the Bar.

Michael currently serves as City Attorney for the Cities of Auburn and Grass Valley and as Agency or General Counsel for the Auburn Urban Development Agency Successor Agency, the Grass Valley Redevelopment Agency Successor Agency, the North Yuba Water District, the Yuba and Calaveras County LAFCOs, the First Five Yuba Commission, the Oak Tree Park and Recreation District, the Garden Valley, Rough & Ready and Ophir Hill Fire Districts and the Tahoe Forest Hospital District. He previously served as City Attorney of Barstow (1997–2004), Calabasas (2003–2012), Cudahy (1994–1999), La Habra Heights (1994–2004), Monrovia (1999–2002), and Sierra Madre (2004–2006), as General Counsel to the Barstow (1997–2004) and Sierra Madre (2004–2006) Redevelopment Agencies, and as General Counsel of the Big Bear City Community Services District (1994-2001).

As perhaps the foremost expert on Proposition 218, Michael assisted the Legislative Analyst’s Office in the impartial analysis of the measure and co-chaired the committee which drafted what became the Proposition 218 Omnibus Implementation Act of 1997. He also chaired the committees which drafted the League of California Cities’ Prop. 218 and 26 Implementation Guides.

Michael was elected by his peers to serve as President of the City Attorneys’ Department of the League of California Cities in 2003—2004.

Michael was appointed by the Rules Committee of the California State Assembly to the Commission on Local Governance in the 21st Century. The Commission was formed under 1997’s A.B. 1484 to study the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act and the bulk of its recommendations became law as Chapter 761 of the Statutes of 2000.

Michael graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University (BA 1983) and received his law degree from University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law (JD 1988), graduating first in his class. While in law school, he was an Articles Editor of the California Law Review and became a member of the Order of the Coif upon graduation. Michael was law clerk to the Honorable James R. Browning, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in 1988–1989.

He taught Administrative Law as an adjunct Professor of Law at the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley in 1995 and is a frequent speaker and trainer on a wide range of public law topics.

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

Practice Areas:

Appellate Advocacy

Complex Litigation

Conflicts of Interest

Constitutional Law

Election Law

Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) Law

Land Use, Planning and CEQA

Public Law

Municipal Revenues (Taxes, Assessments, Fees and Charges)

Public Utilities

Wendy C. Lascher, Esq.
Partner/State Bar Certified 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. 

Bar Admissions and Professional Memberships 

State Bar of California

United States Supreme Court

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

United States District Court for the Central District of California

United States District Court for the Eastern District of California

Certified Specialist in Appellate Law, California Board of Legal Specialization

American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (Past President)

American Inns of Court (Former Board Member)

California Academy of Appellate Lawyers (Past President)

Ventura County Bar Association (Editor, CITATIONS; Past President)

Ventura County Trial Lawyers (Former Board Member)

2005 National Conference on Appellate Justice (Member, Steering Committee)

State Bar of California, Appellate Law Advisory Commission (1994-1998)

California Litigation (Editorial Board, 1993-1996)

Lecturer, California Continuing Education of the Bar

Lecturer, Hastings Litigation Advocacy Program

Lecturer, Santa Barbara College of Law

Lecturer, Ventura College of Law

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

C. Athena Roussos is certified as a specialist in Appellate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Athena provides representation in civil appeals and writs, as well as litigation support services to busy trial lawyers. She is committed to providing excellent representation and legal services at reasonable rates.

Athena handles civil appeals, writs, and law and motion matters on behalf of individuals, businesses, and organizations. She offers counseling to trial attorneys on appellate matters, and she provides evaluation services to determine a client’s chances of success on appeal.

Athena began her career at Snell & Wilmer, LLP in Orange County, California, where she learned essential litigation skills in both state and federal courts. She also gained valuable experience handling appeals and writs. After moving to Sacramento in 2001, Athena worked for the city’s largest firm, Downey, Brand, Seymour & Rohwer LLP, where she worked in the environmental law group. Athena later joined Jay-Allen Eisen Law Corporation as a senior associate, spending several years focusing almost exclusively on civil appeals and writs.

Athena also taught Appellate and International Advocacy and Global Lawyering Skills at Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, as an adjunct and a full-time faculty member. She is a member of several community organizations, and has served on several boards, including Women Lawyers of Sacramento, the Appellate Section of the Sacramento County Bar Association, and the Young Lawyers of Orange County. Athena also serves as a court-appointed mediator for the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.

Athena was selected as “Best of the Bar” by the Sacramento Business Journal in 2015. She was also listed as one of the Top Lawyers for Appellate Law in Sacramento by Sacramento Magazine in 2015.

Jack Russo
Managing Partner
Computerlaw Group LLP

Mr. Russo is a frequent speaker on computer law issues and has given presentations to the American Bar Association, the Practicing Law Institute, the Computer Law Association, and the San Francisco Bay Area Intellectual Property American Inn of Court.

Mr. Russo serves as an arbitrator, mediator, and early neutral evaluator for the U.S. District Court (N.D. California), the Santa Clara County Superior Court, and the American Arbitration Association, as well as a Judge Pro Tempore of the Santa Clara County Superior Court.

Mr. Russo specializes in Internet, computer law, and intellectual property litigation. In addition, Mr. Russo is in charge of the Firm’s entrepreneurship practice.


Register by June 15th and save $25 on each registration with the Early Bird rate!

Registration fees are per person.

Individual: $750
Early Bird registration $650

Group: $725 per person for 2 or more from the same company pre-registering at the same time
Early Bird registration $625

Government employee/Non-Profit* Rate: $625
Early Bird registration $525


** Legal Aid/Non-Profit attorneys are those attorneys employed by Legal Aid/Non-Profit firms. It does not include attorneys who have their own practice, or are employed by law firms, that volunteer their time for non-profit causes or take on pro-bono cases. Partial scholarships may be available to a limited number of non-profit/Legal Aid attorneys, based upon registration. Please call (877) 858-3848 to discuss or email your request to info@pincusproed.com.

CLE Credits

CA General:  This program is approved for 8.0 units of general CLE in California.

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

NJ General: The LIVE session of this course will be approved for the same number of units as in CA.  See the New Jersey State CLE Board Regulations and Guidelines for further information.

NY General: The LIVE session of this course will be approved for the same number of units as in CA.  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.

Terms & Refund 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.

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.

For policies related to audio products, please select “I want a download or CD” on the right.

$625.00$750.00 $525.00$650.00 each

At our Exam Prep course – the only one in the state – Certified Specialists and former Commissioners who wrote and graded the exam talk to you about what to expect when you take the exam and will provide an overview of the law in the subject areas listed by the bar as potential topics upon which they may test. At least two sample questions will be taken during a mock test session and issue spotting will take place afterwards, regarding those questions.


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