Exam Prep: Appellate Law Certified Legal Specialist Exam (Civil) [Recorded Package and OnDemand Streaming] (2023)(CA)

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

Would you like to attend live?  Click here to register to attend this program live.

The CA Bar Appellate Law Certified Legal Specialist Exam is Tuesday, October 24, 2023.  Scroll all the way down for a link to our Free Study Tips download.

Here is your chance to study for the CA Appellate Law Certified Legal Specialist Exam with guidance from Appellate Law Certified Legal Specialists and former attorneys who wrote or graded past exams in Appellate Law (Civil).

By taking this course, you can eliminate or at least reduce the stress that goes with the unknown, when preparing for the exam, and you can get guidance and subject matter review from those that have taken the exam previously, and/or written or graded the exams.

At this program, you will get a thorough overview of the substantive critical areas of civil appellate law and a jump start on your study routine. This carefully planned program will also give you tips on how to take the exam, what to expect on exam day and how to study for it.

The program covers all of the topics upon which the bar lists it “might” test.  Speakers will also create a few mock multiple choice questions throughout the program and go over them with you, since the bar does not release sample multiple choice questions.

The substantive review and multiple choice questions will occur in the first three parts of the online program.  Two weeks after that you will have the opportunity to take sample essay questions (provided by the bar) and then attend an online class where your faculty will walk you through issue spotting and how you could have best answered those questions. At least three or four questions will be involved in the practice essay session – more if time allows.  This session will be taught again by Judge Kira Klatchko, a Certified Legal Specialist in Appellate law. Judge Klatchko taught this lesson at our 2021 Exam Prep program and the attorneys who took it universally praised the session and her teaching, as well as Adam Hofmann, with Hanson Bridgett LLP, a Certified Legal Specialist.

Please note, your essays will not be reviewed or graded.

This program only addresses the CIVIL appellate law exam.  It does not cover the criminal appellate law exam.

Early Study Special. Purchase the recorded package of our upcoming 2023 Exam Prep program, or sign up for live attendance, and we’ll provide you with a coupon to purchase the 2019 Exam Prep audio recorded package for $300 off, so you can start studying now.   Please put a comment in the comments field that you would like the coupon.  Please note – if you take advantage of this special, there are no refunds or cancellations allowed for the 2023 program (whether ordered as live attendance or the recorded package).  No exceptions.  Conversion from live attendance to a recorded package for 2023 is allowed under this special.

The recorded package, available in audio or video format and including seminar materials, will be available as soon after they are held as possible. So, for Parts 1-3, on August 22-24, we hope to have the recorded packages out with these three parts by the following Monday, August 28th.  For Part Four, on September 7th, we hope to also have that out by the following Monday, September 11th.  We can provide streaming links, however, within 24 hours of the program, if you registered live and missed it.

VERY IMPORTANT: 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 June. 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.

And, whether you attend our program or not, don’t miss your FREE copy of our California Legal Specialization Exam Prep Course Study Tips – available for all.  This program is compiled from our Exam Prep courses held in 2015, 2017 and 2019.   Click here to order the download FREE, even if you are not purchasing this program.

If you would like more information from the CA Bar on their exam and becoming a Certified Legal Specialist, click here.

Are you interested in enhancing your public speaking abilities? There’s no better moment than now to take action! Acquire a copy of Faith Pincus’ book, “Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys,” published by the ABA. ABA members can enjoy a special discount of 10%-20%.

Alternatively, you have the option to order a signed paperback directly from us at a discounted price, including free shipping.  Click here to order your signed copy directly from us.

The book is also conveniently available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. Don’t miss this opportunity to improve your presentation skills in and out of court and Be Heard!

What You Will Learn

Part 1: Tuesday, August 22, 2023
12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
What to Expect and How to Prepare
Athena Roussos and Judith Posner

  • Exam details
  • What the exam was like
  • What to expect
  • How to prepare / study plans
  • Practical considerations

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Ethics (Subject Area 1)
Harry Chamberlain and Efrat Cogan

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

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Multi Choice Questions on Ethics
Harry Chamberlain and Efrat Cogan 

2:15 p.m. – 2:25 p.m.

2:25 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.
Pre-Briefing (Subject Area 2)
Harry Chamberlain, Adam Hofmann and Claudia Ribet

  • 2.1 Preserving issues in the trial court
  • 2.2 Appealability
  • 2.3 Standing
  • 2.4 Notice of appeal and cross appeals
  • 2.5 Timing of notice of appeal/cross appeal
  • 2.6 Designation and preparation of the record on appeal
  • 2.7 Perfecting record on appeal
  • 2.8 Stays, supersedeas, appeal bonds/bail

3:55 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Multi Choice Questions on Pre-Briefing
Harry Chamberlain, Adam Hofmann and Claudia Ribet


Part 2: Wednesday, August 23, 2023
12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

12:30 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
Writs (Subject Area 6)
Susan Horst and Michael Colantuono

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

1:50 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.
Multi Choice Questions on Writs
Susan Horst and Michael Colantuono

2:20 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.
Briefing (Subject Area 4)
Polly Estes and Steven Mayer

  • 4.1 Reviewing the record
  • 4.2 Spotting issues
  • 4.3 Legal research
  • 4.4 Issue selection, strategy, and waiver
  • 4.5 Overcoming procedural problems
  • 4.6 Drafting and reviewing the brief
  • 4.7 Filing and service requirements
  • 4.8 Standard of review
  • 4.9 Standard of prejudice

3:55 p.m. – 4:10 p.m.

4:10 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Multi Choice Questions on Briefing
Polly Estes and Steven Mayer

Part 3: Thursday, August 24, 2023
12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

12:30 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
Post-Briefing (Subject Area 5)
Athena Roussos and Sean SeLegue

  • 5.1 Supplemental briefing
  • 5.2 Oral argument
  • 5.3  Petitions for rehearing
  • 5.4 Petitions for review
  • 5.5 Remittitur and post-remittitur issues
  • 5.6 Preservation of issues and timing for Petition for Writ of Certiorari

1:50 p.m. – 2:25 p.m.
Multi Choice Questions on Post-Briefing
Athena Roussos and Sean SeLegue

2:25 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.

2:40 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Motions (Subject Area 3)
Claudia Ribet and Jocelyn Sperling

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

3:55 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Multi Choice Questions on Motions
Claudia Ribet and Jocelyn Sperling


Part 4: Thursday, September 7, 2023
1:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Issue Spotting Discussion on Question #_

1:45 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.

1:55 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.
Issue Spotting Discussion on Question #_

2:40 p.m. – 3:25 p.m.
Issue Spotting Discussion on Question #_.

3:25 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Issue Spotting Discussion on Question #_

4:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Issue Spotting Practice Tests and Discussion on Questions provided by the Bar.

During this program your faculty, Judge Kira Klatchko and Adam Hoffman (Hanson Bridgett LLP) will provide you with an essay question for you to take right then, in an effort to simulate testing conditions (you are on your honor to not look at anything online to help you answer the question).  This will come to you via a link to download the question and/or an attached .pdf in the zoom chat and q/a boxes – each time you are about to take a practice test question. After you have had time to answer each question, Judge Klatchko and Adam will discuss issue spotting and the best way the questions could have been answered in essay format.

You will do this three to five times, depending on how much time each discussion takes with each question.

For the Recorded Package attendees – you will be provided instructions on how to take the practice tests before listening to/watching this session.

For the Recorded Package attendees – you will be provided instructions on how to take the practice tests before listening to/watching this session.







Just a few comments from our 2023 program, Parts 1-3:

“I just wanted to let you know: I did pass! I couldn’t have done it without your course.” – Mark Wilson, Esq.

“This program was extremely helpful to get me started preparing for the Appellate Specialization Exam. Great instructors, well organized.” – Lisa R. McCall, Esq.

“I believe this is the 3rd Pincus CLE course I have attended. All were of excellent quality.”- Steven Finell, Esq.

“I thought the multiple choice was great. Really reinforced the subject matter.”- Lisa R. McCall, Esq.

“Faith Pincus’s personal involvement in the programs is a valuable asset.”- Steven Finell, Esq.

“Excellent content, excellent presenters, well organized.”

“Excellent presenters”

“5 stars”

“Complete and cogent explanations of material.”

“Excellent presentation and great tips for answering the essay questions.”

“Helpful in providing logistical overview of the exam”

“Great instructors”

“Very helpful program and materials.”

“Extremely satisfied”

Comments from our past Exam Prep programs for the Certified Legal Specialist Exam in Appellate Law:

“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.

“Excellent prep course with dynamic lecturers and good materials. Exam materials and prep session were very useful.” – Ryan H. Wu, 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

“Michael is great. Very articulate and he really knows his stuff. Great presenter! Pablo is amazing. Very helpful.” – J. Stobart, Esq.

From an attendee at our 2017 program, after learning she passed: “I passed and you were extraordinarily helpful. The Pincus Prep Course was a worthwhile investment  … Thank you very, very, much.”

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

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

“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.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“Great presentation.”

“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!”


Hon. Kira L. Klatchko
Judge and Certified Legal Specialist in Appellate Law
Superior Court of California, Riverside County

Judge Kira Klatchko was appointed to Riverside County Superior Court in 2016. She currently sits in Palm Springs in an unlimited civil department.

Before joining the bench, Judge Klatchko was a Civil Appellate Law Specialist, certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization and handled both state and federal appeals arising from all areas of civil practice for clients as varied as cities, businesses and families. Judge Klatchko was a partner at Lewis Brisbois, and served as was vice chair of the firm’s national Appellate Practice Litigation group. Prior to joining Lewis Brisbois, Judge Klatchko was a partner at Best Best & Krieger where she served as chair of the firm’s appellate group. She served for six years on the State Bar of California’s Standing Committee on Appellate Courts, including a term as its chair.

Judge Klatchko is co-author of the “California” chapter of the “Appellate Practice Compendium” (ABA 2012), an insider’s guide to appellate practice. She is co-contributing editor of “California Civil Appeals and Writs” (Matthew Bender 2014), a comprehensive two-volume practice guide for appellate counsel and general litigators. Judge Klatchko was repeatedly named to the list of Super Lawyers for Southern California in Appellate Law. She is a former president of the Riverside County Bar Association, and previously served five terms as chair of the Riverside County Bar Association Appellate Section. Judge Klatchko was also a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers.

Judge Klatchko has served as an adjunct professor at La Verne College of Law, teaching legal research and writing. She has also lectured on appellate ethics and practice at numerous conferences and seminars, including the California State Bar Annual Convention, the State and Local Legal Center Supreme Court Practice Seminar, and Pincus Professional Education’s Annual Advanced Appellate Conferences in Los Angeles.  

In 2014, Judge Klatchko was inducted into the Desert Bar Association Hall of Fame, as Outstanding Young Attorney of the year. In 2010, Judge Klatchko was recognized by the City of Palm Springs and Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce with the Athena International Award for Young Professional Leadership, recognizing her professional success and work in the community. 

Judge Klatchko received her bachelor’s degree in political science, with distinction, from the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her master’s degree in business administration from the Executive Management Program at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. She earned her law degree at the University of California, Davis, School of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of the U.C. Davis Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy.

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

Harry Chamberlain is a Shareholder of Buchalter, an Am Law 150 firm, with eleven Western U.S. offices. For over 40 years, he has served as trial and appellate counsel for Fortune 500 companies, and a variety of public and private sector clients in complex litigation matters. 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 the California Supreme Court and the highest courts of other states.                                                           

Before joining Buchalter, Harry was general counsel for California‐based professional liability insurers, and managed the law department of a national group of commercial insurance and financial service companies. He is past president of California Defense Counsel and the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, preeminent associations of civil defense trial and appellate lawyers. He writes and lectures widely on topics regarding complex litigation, professional responsibility and insurance law.

Efrat M. Cogan, Esq.
Of Counsel

Efrat M. Cogan is certified as an Appellate Specialist by the California State Bar of Legal Specialization. As detailed below, she has handled appeals before a variety of courts and on a wide range of subjects, including land use, real estate disputes, probate matters, sports law, commercial law, products liability and employment law.

In addition to appellate work, Ms. Cogan’s practice involves litigation in various areas, including the following:  land use disputes, real estate litigation, including construction litigation, nuisance litigation, and easement litigation.  Having previously represented both municipalities and developers, she has experience in governmental and constitutional law.  She also has experience with commercial litigation, sports law, copyright litigation and class action litigation.

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).  She has written articles for the Business Law News relating to unfair competition claims, and health law.

Ms. Cogan has been selected by Super Lawyer Magazine as one of Southern California’s Super Lawyers from 2004-2006 and 2008-2021 and was included in “Top 50 Women in Law” of Southern California. She was also recognized by Super Lawyer Magazine as a Southern California Super Lawyer, Corporate Counsel Edition from 2009 to 2010. Ms. Cogan currently serves on the California State Bar’s Advisory Commission.

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 ).

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).


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.

Steven L. Mayer, Esq.
Senior Counsel
Arnold & Porter

Steven Mayer focuses his practice on constitutional litigation and representing public entities. He is a Certified Specialist in Appellate Law certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Mr. Mayer has lectured to the Bar Association of San Francisco on new developments in appellate practice and is a past Chairman of the BASF Appellate Practice Section. He is a past President of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers in 2014-15 and has been a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers since 2009.

In 1974, Mr. Mayer served as Staff Attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In 1975, he became the Assistant Supervising Staff Attorney, a position he held until he joined Howard Rice in November, 1975. He became a partner at Howard Rice in 1980, and practiced at that firm until it combined with Arnold & Porter in 2012.  He then practiced as a partner at Arnold & Porter until 2014, when he became a Senior Counsel.

Mr. Mayer is currently listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Appellate Law. He has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer from 2004 through 2017.

Judith 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.

Claudia Ribet, Esq.
Complex Appellate Litigation Group LLP

Claudia Ribet is one of only four attorneys in California recognized by the State Bar as a certified specialist in both appellate law and family law. This dual qualification gives Claudia deep insight into effective presentation of complex arguments in high-stakes family law appeals. She wins a lot of the California family law appeals she litigates. 

Claudia authored an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court where the Court ruled in her client’s favor, holding a Special Juvenile Immigrant Status proceeding could go forward in the absence of the father. She is also a frequent author of articles about family law appellate issues, having penned more than a dozen for the Daily Journal, Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, and Family Law News.

Claudia has been a member of the State Bar’s Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission (the “JNE Commission”) and, for many years was Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s State Appellate Judicial Evaluation Committee (“SAJEC”). She is a Fellow of both the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

Claudia graduated from Antioch Law School in Washington, D.C. She received her undergraduate degree in philosophy with high honors from Oberlin College.

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.


Sean SeLegue, Esq.
Arnold & Porter

Sean SeLegue, described as a "very astute lawyer" in Chambers,* has developed two distinct areas of focus over more than 30 years of law practice.

Appeals. Mr. SeLegue brings rigorous analysis, lively writing and creativity to his appellate practice. He emphasizes teamwork with trial counsel while ensuring the client gets objective advice based on a fresh assessment of the matter. Chambers casts him as a "a top-flight appellate attorney." He is a certified appellate specialist, State Bar of California, a member and officer of the selective California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a member of the invitation-only American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Mr. SeLegue began his career in appellate law in 1991 with a clerkship for Judge Cynthia Holcomb Hall of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Since then, he has handled appeals in many areas, including energy law, products liability, real estate, partnership disputes, securities law, contract law and high-asset community property disputes in marital dissolution (divorce) cases.

Attorney Liability And Ethics. A former Chair of the State Bar of California Board of Trustees and the Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, Mr. SeLegue has advised and represented dozens of lawyers and law firms. He has extensive experience in defending malpractice and malicious prosecution actions and attorney discipline defense. He has overseen internal investigations for law firms and has advised firms and appeared on their behalf, in investigations and inquiries by the State Bar and federal judges. Mr. SeLegue also has served as an expert witness.

*Chambers Ranking in Litigation: California Appellate category

Jocelyn Sperling, Esq.
Complex Appellate Litigation Group LLP

Jocelyn Sperling handles a wide range of civil appeals.

For more than a decade, she has represented clients in civil appeals and writ petitions in the California Courts of Appeal and Ninth Circuit. Her diverse practice includes employment, tort, contract, real property, and attorney fee matters. Before joining CALG, she was an appellate lawyer at Bien & Summers and at her own firm, and litigated cases at a boutique employment firm earlier in her career.

She was a law clerk and staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Jocelyn worked at the Ninth Circuit for five years, serving as a law clerk to Judge Richard A. Paez and later as a staff attorney for the Court. She was also a research attorney at the Alameda County Superior Court and an extern in the federal district court. In these positions, she gained insight into effective advocacy and the judicial decision-making process, along with practical knowledge of how the trial and appellate courts work. Jocelyn is active in the legal community, and writes and speaks on appellate law.

She serves on the Committee on Appellate Courts of the California Lawyers Association’s Litigation Section, where she has led key access-to-justice projects. She is co-founder and vice chair of the Alameda County Bar Association’s Appellate Law Section, and chair of the ACBA’s Judicial Appointments Evaluation Committee. Jocelyn also co-authors a chapter on appealability in CEB’s California Civil Appellate Practice and frequently speaks on appellate issues.

In addition to her retained work, she routinely handles pro bono work for Centro Legal de la Raza, a nonprofit organization in Oakland that provides free legal services to low-income communities.

Jocelyn graduated Order of the Coif from UCLA School of Law. She was in the first class of UCLA Law’s Program in Public Interest and Policy and served as as an editor of the Law Review. She earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.


Early Study Special. Register now for live attendance, or purchase the Recorded Package of our upcoming 2023 Exam Prep program, and we’ll provide you with a coupon to purchase the 2019 Exam Prep audio recorded package for $300 off, so you can start studying now.  Please put a comment in the comments field that you would like the coupon.  

Please note if you take advantage of the above special, there are no refunds or cancellations allowed for the 2023 program (whether ordered as live attendance or the recorded package).  No exceptions.  

Three Recorded Package options to choose from:

Video (with sound)* Recording & Materials Package – CD or Download: $750

Audio Only* Recording & Materials Package – CD or Download: $750 


Order both the Video* and Audio Only* Packages for only $50 more – CD or Download: $800


*The Video recording is a video of the webinar (with sound). The Audio recording is audio only, for those who wish to listen to it without visuals (such as in the car).

Note: All downloads must be downloaded to a computer first, before transferring them to another device.


For CDs/DVDs, please add $8.50 shipping and, in CA, sales tax.

We will endeavor to make your downloads available and get your CDs/DVDs out to you as soon after they are held as possible.  So, for Parts 1-3, on August 22-24, we hope to have the recorded packages out with these three parts by the following Monday, August 28th.  For Part Four, on September 7th, we hope to also have that out by the following Monday, September 11th.  We can provide streaming links, however, within 24 hours of the program, if you want to get a jump start and can’t wait for the recorded package.


CLE Credit

CA General and Ethics: This program is approved for 10.5  units of general CLE in California including 1.0 unit of Ethics.

CA Certified Legal Specialist Credit in Appellate Law – Participatory CLE: Approved for 10.5 Participatory units through August 21, 2025.

CA Certified Legal Specialist Credit in Appellate Law – Self-Study CLE: Approved for 10.5 Self-Study units through August 21, 2028.

NY General: This course is eligible for approval, under New York’s CLE Approved Jurisdiction policy, for 10.5 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 state 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.

$750.00$800.00 each

Recording/Recorded on August 22, 23, 24 and September 7, 2023.