Persuasive Appellate Brief Writing (CA) (Recorded Package)

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

This is one of those programs that you really can not miss if you want to improve your appellate brief writing and learn how to convince the court more effectively – regardless of your experience level.  While there will be some review of the basics, the bulk of the course is centered around providing you with exceptional and practical advice and an inside look at what judges find persuasive.

You will learn from CA Court of Appeal Justices and long time appellate practitioners, most of whom are CA Certified Legal Specialists in Appellate Law.  Your justices include: Justice Kathleen Banke (1st DCA), Justice Michael Raphael (4th DCA) and Justice John Segal (2nd DCA).  Also joining us is Judge Helen Williams, a Certified Legal Specialist in Appellate Law. Please see the Faculty Tab for a full faculty list and bios.

The seminar will show you how to draft a clear – and persuasive – appellate brief in the CA Court of Appeal (much advice will also apply to Federal Court, with the exception of the discussions regarding CA state rules and case law).

Many judges no longer hear oral argument for appellate cases – so written advocacy has never been more important.

All types of attorneys will gain invaluable insight into effective legal writing from the perspective of appellate judges and long-term appellate attorneys.

This seminar will provide concrete and practical tips for writing a persuasive appellate brief from the cover page to the conclusion.

You will learn about best practices, identifying what issues to raise on appeal, what judges find persuasive, briefing rules (formal and informal), and appellate specific issues and standards.

Your judges will tell you how to create a persuasive and efficient analysis structure in your brief and they’ll talk to you about how to help the court want to rule in your favor.

You will also learn how to effectively use the record and your statement of facts.  Of course you’ll learn about your obligations to the court as well as your client.

If you write appellate briefs, don’t miss this program – you won’t get this much advice organized carefully and presented in a three-hour program anywhere else.  Your faculty will cover both beginner and advanced level topics.  Please note – your faculty is not going to discuss brief writing related to specific legal areas, such as family law.

And don’t miss our past Advanced Appellate Conferences, covering a variety of important appellate practice topics and taught by Justices, Judges and Certified Legal Specialists in Appellate Law:

Our 1st Annual Advanced Appellate Conference (2016) audio recording can be purchased here.
Our 2nd Annual Advanced Appellate Conference (2017) audio recording can be purchased here.
Our 3rd Annual Advanced Appellate Conference (2018) audio recording can be purchased here.
Our 4th Annual Advanced Appellate Conference (2019) audio recording can be purchased here.
Our 5th Annual Advanced Appellate Conference (2020) audio recording can be purchased here.
Our 6th Annual Advanced Appellate Conference (2021) video or audio recorded package can be purchased here.
Our 7th Annual Advanced Appellate Conference (2022) video or audio recorded package can be purchased here.
Our 8th Annual Advanced Appellate Conference (2023) video or audio recorded package can be purchased here.

And don’t miss our 2022 Writs of Administrative of Mandamus Demystified: A Step by Step Guide Webinar package and our 2021 Administrative Hearings Recorded Package – both received excellent reviews and have a ton of information. (click the title to reach the program)


* The Video recording is a video of the webinar (including sound). The Audio recording is audio only, for those who wish to listen to it without visuals (such as in the car). You can also purchase both formats together. Note: All downloads must be downloaded to a computer first, before transferring them to another device.


Have you ever thought about improving your public speaking skills? Now is the time! Get Faith Pincus’ book Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys, from the ABA now (ABA members receive 10%-20% off). You can order a signed paperback from us at a discount here (free shipping). It is also available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions.


What You Will Learn

Part 1 Topics

Being Aware of the Audience for the Submission

  • Motions for Discretionary Review
  • Petitions for Review
  • Motions for Reconsideration/Publication

Selecting the Issues on Appeal 

  • Not all issues raised in the trial court can, or should, be argued on appeal
  • How should counsel select the issues?
  • Creating your Checklist

Building Blocks to an Effective Appellate Pleading

  • Persuasive (and efficient!) analysis structure
    • How do you want our analysis to go?
    • Common mistakes brief writers make in the “explanation of the rule” and “application” portions of the analysis
    • How to efficiently address counter-arguments
    • Rule format requirements/court best practices

Convincing the Court to Want to Rule in Your Favor

  • Using fundamental principles as persuasive tools—yet another checklist
  • The hard part: Tips for predicting what concerns judges might have with your argument and then addressing those concerns
  • A strong first impression: Roadmap for an effective introduction

Part 2 Topics

Part 2 is tentative and will be changed shortly. It will involve exercises the entire day. Your work will not be reviewed or graded, but you will have time to write, in response to specific assignments, and then the faculty – Justices and practitioners – will discuss examples of best options for those areas of the brief.

1:00 – 1:15
Faculty to outline the program and case

1:15 – 1:30
Attendees to draft a Question Presented

1:30 – 1:45
Faculty to review/discuss ideal Question Presented from example

1:45 – 1:50

1:50 – 2:05
Attendees to draft Statement of Facts

2:05 – 2:20
Faculty to review/discuss ideal Statement of Facts

2:20 – 2:30

2:30 – 2:45
Attendees to draft persuasive Argument Headings

2:45 – 3:00
Faculty to review/discuss Argument Headings

3:00 – 4:00
Faculty to discuss: Argument

  • Standard and Scope of Review
  • Citing and Using Authority
  • Making Your Argument
  • Writing Tips in Drafting the Argument Section


“Very instructive program. Presenting the rules of effective appellate writing in one session and then applying these rules to real-life cases in the next was an efficient and productive strategy.” – Iryna Kwasny, Esq.

“Practical advice, useful in practice, and speakers with expertise.” – Yana Ridge, Esq.

“Great presentation!” – John T. Sylvester, Esq.

“Well worth the time and money.” –  Nancy Rabin Brucke, Esq.

“Excellent help.” – David Park, Esq.

“Very good.” – Nadin Said, Esq.

“Very clear and lots of good ideas conveyed.” – James Lemieux, Esq.

“I thought Justice Banke and Mr. Wolff were both excellent.”

“Excellent, concrete, and actionable advice from highly experienced speakers. Great program.”

“Excellent content and advice on practical application.”

“Great content; enjoyed the speakers.”

“Excellent feedback for litigation.  Very helpful.”

“I thought it was great and the written materials are helpful.”

“It was fantastic. I loved that it was interactive and that we got to do some practical writing exercises.”

“This was a very good program.  All the speakers had valuable advice to give from diverse viewpoints.”

“This was excellent – I learned a lot. I loved hearing from appellate practitioners and justices about what makes or breaks a brief.”

“PDF outline was super helpful.”

“Justice Banke was great and super informative about a justice’s view of an appellate brief.”

“Great program.”

“Very good and helpful.” – Nancy Rabin Brucker, Esq.

“Interactive portion of this training was excellent.”

“Very good program and effective speakers.”

“Useful tips, experienced speakers.” – Yana Ridge, Esq.

“Very good, organized, and timely.”

“Excellent program.”

“I thought it was great!”

“Very good. The speakers were interesting and informative.”

“Loved the interactive portion.”

“This program is excellent!  Although each presenter and Justice has their own preferences for brief structure, it is an opportunity to add their preferences to my repertoire. They are the experts and those I wish to convince.  What an awesome resource!”

“Really good discussion – lots of real-world examples and great exercises.”



Hon. Helen E. Williams
Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County

Judge Helen E. Williams was appointed to the Santa Clara County Superior Court in 2012. She has sat in unlimited civil and criminal assignments, served as the court’s designated CEQA judge, and has served for nine years on the court’s Appellate Division, eight of those as its Presiding Judge. In 2022-2023, Judge Williams sat on assignment as a pro tem justice at the Sixth District Court of Appeal, authoring her own opinions without research assistance. Before joining the bench, Judge Williams, who is certified as an appellate specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, worked in chambers for eight years as a research attorney at the Sixth District Court of Appeal, focusing on civil and criminal cases and drafting opinions in those cases for the authoring justice. Before that, Judge Williams engaged in civil practice for 18 years beginning with a small litigation firm with her father and moving to larger firms with increasing focus on appellate specialization and dispositive motions such as summary judgment and anti-SLAPP, along with post-trial motions and other trial matters such as critical in limine motions and jury instructions. 

Judge Williams currently serves as a member of the Judicial Council of California’s Appellate Advisory Committee and previously served as a member of the Center for Judicial Education & Research’s Appellate Practice Curriculum Committee. She also served for six years on the State Bar of California’s Standing Committee on Appellate Courts, including terms as its vice-chair and chair. She further served for five years on the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization Appellate Law Advisory Committee, including terms as its vice-chair and chair. Judge Williams also served as the vice-chair and chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Appellate Courts Section and as co-chair of the Appellate Court’s Committee of the Santa Clara County Bar Association. Judge Williams also currently serves as President Elect of the William Ingram Inn of Court, of which she has been a member for many years, and she is a member of the Board of Editors of the California Litigation Journal, now a publication of the California Lawyers Association Litigation Section. Judge Williams has served on panels for scores of MCLE and judicial education programs, principally on appellate topics. 

Judge Williams received her Bachelor of Arts degree in French Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She earned her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law, and is one of four members of that School’s class of 1986 to serve on the Santa Clara Superior Court bench. While in law school, Judge Williams served as an Articles Editor for the Santa Clara Law Review and, along with her brother, received the Moot Court award for Best Brief.

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 ).

Anna-Rose Mathieson, Esq.
Complex Appellate Litigation Group, LLP

Anna-Rose served as a law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, taught appellate writing at Stanford Law School, is certified as an appellate specialist by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California, and is a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers. The Daily Journal named her one of the Top Women Attorneys in California three times.

Her appeals have ranged across topics as varied as employment law, jurisdiction, antitrust, products liability, and constitutional law. She understands cutting-edge technology issues, having litigated significant copyright and trademark appeals. She has worked on numerous criminal cases and taught criminal law at the University of Michigan Law School. And she knows how to obtain review at the highest level, authoring U.S. Supreme Court petitions for certiorari and merits briefs on a wide range of issues.

Anna-Rose frequently works with trial counsel to brief critical motions, advise on jury instructions, and preserve arguments for appeal. She also helps obtain appellate review of interlocutory issues before a trial court case is final, and often works closely with the firm’s writ specialists on California writ petitions. 

Anna-Rose is also known for her robust amicus practice. Her recent amici briefs include an in-depth empirical examination of patent inter partes review for national health insurance companies (brief available here), a historical analysis in the Trump travel ban case (brief here), and a law and economics brief in a union fees case (brief here). Several of Anna-Rose’s amicus briefs have received substantial news coverage, including one discussed and quoted by The Economist (see the brief here) and another discussed in The New York Times (click here for article).

Anna-Rose serves on a number of legal committees and appears often in the press. She is on the Board of Directors of the Family Violence Appellate Project, on the Amicus Committee of California Women Lawyers, and on the Executive Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Appellate Section. She previously served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the American Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Journal and President/Board Chair for the Family Violence Appellate Project. She appears on radio, television, panels, and podcasts to discuss breaking issues of appellate and constitutional law, and writes articles for The Recorder, Daily Journal, California Litigation Review, and other legal publications.

Anna-Rose graduated first in her class at the University of Michigan Law School. She was a Darrow Scholar and won more than a dozen awards in law school, including the school’s highest honor (the Bates Scholarship). She also served as Articles Editor and Symposium Coordinator for the Michigan Law Review. After law school she clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and then for Justice Ginsburg.

Benjamin G. Shatz, Esq.
Partner, Certified Legal Specialist in Appellate Law
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Ben Shatz is a certified specialist in appellate law who has briefed hundreds of civil appeals, writs and petitions in state and federal courts covering areas of law including employment, entertainment, copyright, trademark, land use, banking, insurance, product liability, professional liability, wrongful death, punitive damages, class actions, anti-SLAPP and unfair competition. Before private practice he served as law clerk to Robert J. Johnston, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Nevada, and as extern to Dorothy W. Nelson, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Ben is Editor-in-Chief of California Litigation, the journal of the State Bar’s Litigation Section, chairs the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s State Appellate Judicial Evaluations Committee and serves on the executive committee of LACBA’s Appellate Courts Section. He is a past Chair of the State Bar Committee on Appellate Courts and the LACBA Appellate Courts Committee.

Since 2005, Ben has coordinated lawyer volunteers for the ACE (Appellate Court Experience) program, in which high school students visit the Second District Court of Appeal, for which he was honored as Lawyer of the Year (Private Sector 2008) by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. He has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer in Appellate Practice (2004-2015); listed in Best Lawyers in America for appellate practice (2012-2015); and is AV-Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Ben is a frequent lecturer and publisher of articles on appellate practice, is an editorial consultant for the Matthew Bender Practice Guide on California Civil Appeals & Writs, and blogs at Southern California Appellate News (

Mitchell C. Tilner, Esq.
Horvitz & Levy LLP

Mitchell Tilner is a partner at the firm, where he has been practicing since 1988.  He is a California State Bar Certified Appellate Specialist.

Mr. Tilner has briefed or supervised the briefing in more than 300 appeals and writ proceedings and has argued more than 80 appeals and writ proceedings in the state and federal appellate courts. He has represented individuals, private entities and public agencies in appeals involving insurance coverage and bad faith, business and contract disputes, employment law, water law, entertainment law and punitive damages, among others. 

Mr. Tilner has also authored numerous articles for legal publications and for several years co-authored “Appeals, Writs and Post-Trial Motions” for California Litigation Review.  He frequently presents seminars to clients and professional groups on the appellate process and related subjects.  In addition, he is a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.

Mr. Tilner is “AV Preeminent” rated by Martindale Hubbell and was named a “Leading Individual” or “Notable Practitioner” of appellate litigation in California in Chambers USA’s directory of leading lawyers for 2007-2013.  He has also been named a "Best Lawyer" by The Best Lawyers in America each year since 2006.  Super Lawyers Magazine has listed Mr. Tilner as a Southern California Super Lawyer every year since 2004.  In 2014, Mr. Tilner was also named one of the Top 100 Southern California attorneys by Super Lawyers. 

Before joining the firm, Mr. Tilner held a judicial clerkship with the Hon. Arthur L. Alarcon of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Earlier, he was an Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, and a Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the National Law Center, George Washington University. Mr. Tilner began his legal career as an associate in the litigation department of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Greg E. Wolff, Esq.

Complex Appellate Litigation Group, LLP

Greg spent nearly three decades in the chambers of four different California Supreme Court justices, analyzing thousands of petitions for review, evaluating hundreds of Supreme Court briefs, and helping the justices draft scores of opinions and orders. He served as a Senior Judicial Attorney for retired Chief Justice Ron George for 10 years, the Head of Chambers for Justice Carlos Moreno for 10 years, the same role for Justice Goodwin Liu for 3 years, and then again for Justice Leondra Kruger for 4 years. All told, over 27 years, Greg gained deep insight into how the Court functions as an institution and how its individual justices reach decisions — along with how best to persuade them. Greg also served for four years as a research attorney at the California Court of Appeal.

He became the Supervisor of the Appellate Section of the Criminal Branch and handled appeals for the Civil Liability Section. In those roles, Greg argued before the California Supreme Court in Serna v. Superior Court (1985) 40 Cal.3d 239, and obtained nine published opinions from the California Courts of Appeal, as well as 12 by the Appellate Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Greg has given dozens of continuing education programs on persuasive writing and the inner workings of the California Supreme Court. As an Adjunct Professor at Hastings College of the Law for 18 years, Greg taught Moot Court as well as Legal Research and Writing, helping students to understand how to analyze complex legal issues and express themselves clearly orally and in writing. 

Greg is a former Executive Committee-member of the CLA Litigation Section’s Committee on Appellate Courts. He also was on the Board of Directors of the Marin County Bar Association. Greg is a graduate of Southwestern Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA.


Three Recorded Package options to choose from:

Video (with sound)* Recording & Materials Package – CD or Download:  $425

Audio Only* Recording & Materials Package – CD or Download:  $425

Order both the Video* and Audio Only* Packages for only $50 more – CD or Download:  $475

*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 because the downloads are .zip files that contain documents in addition to the audio or video files.


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

This program will be recorded live on August 23 & 25, 2022.

(Recorded packages are available approximately two to three weeks after the seminar is held.)

CLE Credit

CA General: This program is approved for 5.5 general CLE units.

CA Participatory Certified Legal Specialist: This program is approved for 5.5 hours of Legal Specialization Credit in Appellate Law. (Expires 08/23/2024)

CA Self Study (only) Certified Legal Specialist: This program is approved for 5.5 hours of Legal Specialization Credit in Appellate Law. (Expires 08/23/2027)

NY General: This course is eligible for approval, under New York’s CLE Approved Jurisdiction policy, for 5.5 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 states listed above.  Upon request, Pincus Pro Ed will provide any information an attorney needs to support their application for CLE approval in other states other than what is listed above. Many attorneys ask for this and are approved in other state

$425.00$475.00 each

Recording/Recorded on August 23 & 25, 2022.