Persuasive Appellate Brief Writing (WA) [Two-Part Webinar]

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 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.

Additionally, during Part 2 you will engage in writing exercises. Past attendees at this program in California found the writing exercises invaluable.

You will learn from WA state court Appellate Judge Tracy Staab, former WA Supreme Court Justice Philip Talmadge (now in private practice), three Appellate Commissioners (Commissioners Koh, Bearse and Landrus) and two top-notch appellate experts: Cynthia Jones and Sidney Tribe.

Your outstanding faculty have all spoken in the past to rave reviews. They will give you invaluable insight and advice and you will have plenty of opportunity to ask questions, especially of the court.

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

As you know, 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 (criminal and civil).

This seminar will provide concrete and practical tips for writing a persuasive appellate brief from the cover page to the conclusion. It will also bring you up-to-speed on case law and ethics issues (with 0.5 units of ethics credits).

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.

And lastly, you’ll receive one or two checklists – created by the judges who are part of your faculty.

If you write appellate briefs, don’t miss this program – you won’t get this much advice organized carefully and presented in a program anywhere else, especially with this many folks teaching from the bench.


Can’t attend? This program will be recorded live on March 19 & 21, 2024. The recorded package, available in audio or video format and including seminar materials, will be available approximately two to three weeks after the live program ends.


Are you interested in enhancing your presentation skills in and out of court? 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!


Tuesday, March 19, 2024
1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time
(Including Break)
Two-Part Webinar


1:00 p.m. – 1:20 p.m. 
Being Aware of the Audience for the Submission
Philip Talmadge

  • Motions for Discretionary Review (RAP 2.3)
  • Merits Briefs – Court of Appeals/Supreme Court
  • Petitions for Review (RAP 13.4)
  • Motions for Reconsideration/Publication

1:20 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. 
Selecting the Issues on Appeal
Cynthia Jones

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

1:50 p.m. – 2:35 p.m. 
Building Blocks to an Effective Appellate Pleading
Hon. Tracy A. Staab and Hon. Aurora Bearse

  • 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
    • RAP format requirements/court best practices

2:35 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. 

2:50 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Convincing The Court to Want to Rule in Your Favor
Hon. Hailey Landrus and Hon. Jennifer Koh

  • 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

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
Ethical Issues in Brief Writing
Philip Talmadge

  • Ethical obligations under RPC 3.1/RAP 18.9(a)
  • Client explanation of issues on appeal
  • RPC 3.3 requirements regarding citing authorities and extra-record material


Thursday, March 21, 2024
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time
(Including Break)
Two-Part Webinar

The schedule below is listed to give you an idea of what will be covered in the exercises and throughout the day. The exact start and stop times of each exercise may vary, depending on how the day goes and how much attendee participation occurs.

Faculty:  Hon. Hailey Landrus, Hon. Jennifer Koh, Sidney Tribe

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Faculty to Outline the Program and Case 

1:30 p.m. – 1:35 p.m.
Attendees to Draft an Introduction

1:35 p.m.  1:50 p.m.
Faculty to Review/Discuss Ideal Introduction from Example

1:50 p.m. – 2:05 p.m.

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Faculty to Review/Discuss Ideal Argument Headings

2:15 p.m. –2:30 p.m.
Attendees to Draft Persuasive Argument Headings

2:30 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.
Faculty to Review/Discuss Argument Headings 

2:40 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.

2:50 p.m. – 3:05 p.m.
Faculty to Discuss: Argument

     A. Standard and Scope of Review
     B. Citing and Using Authority

3:05 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Writing Tips 

3:30 p.m. – 3:40 p.m.
Drafting the Conclusion 

3:40 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
Reply Briefs 

3:50 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Final Questions


Two- Part Webinar

Dates and Times:
Part 1: Tuesday, March 19, 2024 | 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time (includes breaks)

Part 2: Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time (includes breaks)


We will send your login details and handout materials a few days before your program.



“I thought the speakers were wonderful, and I appreciated the enthusiasm, kindness, and candor.” – Madilyn Bates, Esq.

“I really liked the subject matter and thought the speakers were excellent!” – Alexandra Manno, Esq.

“Well organized, great delivery, concise and informative material. Thank you!” – Melody Claire Tucker, Esq.

“I am especially grateful for time and valuable insights from the two judges on the panel.  I appreciate their willingness to continue to help train bar members to do a better job for our clients (and side benefit to make their jobs easier).  Their perspective was particularly invaluable.”

“Loved the topics, the clear examples, and how knowledgeable the speakers were.” –Sydney Phillips, Esq.

“This was incredibly helpful for me. The examples given in the case study helped me understand the advice being given; a lot of times you know you can do something better, but don’t know exactly how, so I appreciated being shown some examples of how.”

“It was a good program. Helpful to hear a judge’s perspective.” – Ashley Karlstad, Esq.

“It was useful and provided a good discussion of fundamental issues in appellate advocacy.”

“Very, very helpful. I appreciated the specific tips and suggestions, materials to refer back to, and interactive exercise to apply what we learn.”

“Excellent program and excellent speakers.” – Kelly J. Faust Sovar, Esq.

“The program itself was great, precisely as advertised, and great speakers with inside information about appellate processes.”

“The thematic checklist is an excellent tool.” – David Spellman, Esq.

“Incredible panel and presentation of material.” – Kirsten A. Schultz, Esq.

“I thought it was very practical. I appreciated the segment where we reviewed two briefs and an opinion together to identify application of the fundamental principles.”

“Love that it was a half day and that you had very high-level speakers.” – Pamela Rohr, Esq.

“Kudos to the speakers for taking the time to be well organized and coordinated.  Almost seamless!”

“All the speakers were excellent.  I particularly appreciated the two judges, who were excellent and had put a lot of effort into their preparation.”

“I appreciated the speakers’ willingness to give specific advice and examples.  Great panel!”

“Quality presentations.” – Todd Renda, Esq.

“High quality!” – Dennis Morgan, Esq.

“There were some great pearls of wisdom, I particularly liked Judge Glasgow’s framework of core values/fundamentals.”

“It was a very good program.  Always good to hear Phil Talmadge.”

“Great topics, presentation, and speakers.”

“The speakers were all fantastic.”

“Great program; good speakers.”

“Just fantastic. Thank you!”

“Great work!”

“Very helpful.”

“Very well-run, right pace, good differing opinions and references to mtls.”

“Great speakers, it was highly informative and well prepared.”

“Speakers were great.”

“Informative program. Great speakers.”

“Very informative, I enjoyed it and learned a lot.”

“Great program!”

“Good job on general concepts.”

“It was great!”

“Good flow, good timing, exceptional speakers.”

“The examples of the briefs in the GMA case were really helpful.”

“Great speakers and good content.”


“Wonderful program.”

“Excellent program.”


Hon. Tracy A. Staab
Appellate Judge
Washington State Court of Appeals, Division III

 Judge Tracy Staab was elected to the Court of Appeals, Division III in 2020 and took office in January 2021.

Judge Staab graduated cum laude from the University of Puget Sound (now Seattle University) School of Law in 1993. She clerked for Judge Stephen Brown of Division III. She spent the early part of her career in private practice before becoming a public defender, first with the City of Spokane and then with the Federal Defenders. As a Federal Defender, Judge Staab focused on appellate work primarily before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2009, Judge Staab was selected as one of the first Spokane Municipal Court Judges, along with Judge Mary Logan and Judge Shelley Szambelan. The three judges developed the new court with the goal of using evidence-based practices with demonstrated results. Within a few short years, the court earned local, regional, and national recognition for its innovative therapeutic courts. Judge Staab worked as a judge on Spokane Municipal Court for twelve years until she was elected to the Court of Appeals.

Hon. Aurora R. Bearse
Washington Court of Appeals, Division II

Commissioner Aurora R. Bearse was appointed as a Court Commissioner for Division Two of the Court of Appeals, effective May 1, 2012. Prior to her appointment, Commissioner Bearse served as an administrative law judge for the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings. She has also served as a staff attorney for Division Two of the Court of Appeals, as an assistant appellate federal public defender in the Fifth Circuit, as an associate attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York and Houston offices), and as a judicial law clerk for Judge Robert R. Beezer (9th Circuit) and Judge William H. Walls (DNJ).

Commissioner Bearse graduated with honors from Rutgers-Newark School of Law. She was the senior articles editor of the Rutgers Law Review. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Religion & History from Rutgers University. She currently is a volunteer judicial member of the WSBA’s Access to Justice Board Rules Committee. Before joining Division Two, she served as president and executive board member of the Seattle Children’s Autism Guild, an all-volunteer organization that raises funds for the Autism Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She continues to volunteer with various autism-related organizations to support people with autism and their families.

Hon. Jennifer D. Koh
Washington State Court of Appeals, Division I

Commissioner Jennifer D. Koh was appointed by the Court of Appeals Division One, effective March 2, 2020. Before her appointment, Commissioner Koh focused on appellate practice as Of Counsel with Fain Anderson Vanderhoef Rosendahl O’Halloran Spillane PLLC, served as a staff attorney for Division I, practiced as a trial and appellate attorney in municipal public defense and other criminal and civil matters with a small Seattle law firm, and worked as an associate attorney in employment, education, and labor law in the Bellevue office of a large Seattle firm. Commissioner Koh graduated from the Yale Law School and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington. Commissioner Koh grew up in West Seattle, where she lives with her husband and three children.

Hon. Hailey Landrus
Washington State Court of Appeals, Division III

Commissioner Hailey Landrus serves as a court commissioner at Division III of the Washington State Court of Appeals.  Before she became a judicial officer, Commissioner Landrus practiced general civil litigation, taking on a broad range of cases in areas of law including appellate, family, juvenile dependency, business/partnership, real property, administrative, guardianship, probate, employment, and insurance subrogation, while also doing simple estate planning work.  She recently returned to Division III where she began her legal career as a judicial law clerk for now-retired Judge Dennis J. Sweeney.  Commissioner Landrus is a graduate of Seattle University School of Law and Washington State University. 

Cynthia B. Jones, Esq.
Jones Legal Group, LLC

Jones Legal Group, LLC is headed by Cynthia B. Jones, a dedicated legal professional well-versed in appellate practice and litigation. Cynthia concentrates her practice on civil and criminal appeals and civil litigation, including constitutional and criminal cases in federal and state courts.

Ms. Jones was appointed by the Western District of Washington United States District Court to serve a three-year term as Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit. Lawyer Representatives are chosen to serve three-year terms representing attorneys practicing in each of the Ninth Circuit’s 15 districts in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions. In 2022, she was elected Vice Chair of the Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative Coordinating Committee (LRCC) 2022-2025 and will serve on the Judicial Conference Executive Committee (CEC) during her term as Vice Chair of the LRCC.

Philip Talmadge, Esq.

Phil Talmadge is a former Washington Supreme Court Justice. 

He is a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the Washington State Appellate Lawyers Association.  Phil has been named Super Lawyer in Washington Law & Politics and was a Washington State Senator. 

He practices exclusively in the areas of Appellate Law and Attorney Ethics.  Phil received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of Washington and has been an attorney since 1976.

Sidney C. Tribe, Esq.

Carney Badley Spellman, P.S.

Sidney grew up in Spokane and Seattle, and graduated magna cum laude from Willamette University in 1994 with a B.A. in English Literature. At Willamette she was a G. Herbert Smith Scholar and two-time recipient of the Dona Adams Rothwell Award. She received her J.D. from the University of Washington in 2002, where she was Executive Articles Editor of the Washington Law Review and President of the Moot Court Honor Board. She is also a member of the Order of the Barristers.

Sidney was fortunate to serve as a law clerk for the Honorable William Baker at the Washington State Court of Appeals Division I from 2005 to 2007. Before joining Carney Badley Spellman, she was a partner at Talmadge/Fitzpatrick focusing primarily on appellate practice. 

Sidney is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, the King County Bar Association, the Washington Employment Lawyers Association, and Washington Women Lawyers.  She has done pro bono work for the Unemployment Law Project, the King County Bar Association Newcomer’s Project, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Pro Bono Program.  She has also been a Director at Facing the Future, a nonprofit that helps teachers integrate global issues into their core curriculum.  Sidney’s incredible husband Mick is a geographer/GIS business analyst, and they have two adorable dogs, Tazzy and Jake.


Add the Recorded Package of this program at check out for only $99 (download) or $105 + tax in CA (DVD/CD)

Registration fees are per person. Log in information will be keyed to each individual registrant. Substitutions are allowed (contact us please).

Individual: $429

Group: $404 per person for 2 or more from the same company pre-registering at the same time.

Government employee/Legal Aid* Rate: $380

Law Student*/Paralegal Rate: $240

*Your discount is automatically applied at checkout.

Your access information and course handout will be sent out a few days before the program.

Full and partial scholarships are available for Legal Aid attorneys, based upon registration. Please call (877) 858-3848 to discuss or email your request to


Program materials:

Registration includes an electronic copy (.pdf) of your seminar handbook.  This will be emailed to you about a week before the program.  Be sure to check your spam folder if you don’t see it by then.  Please put in your address book to make sure you receive your pdf of the program handbook.

Law Student Rate is for current law students only.  Please submit your law school information in the comments box when you register.

** Legal Aid 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. It also does not include attorneys who serve on non-profit boards.


CLE Credits

WA General:This program is approved for 5.75 units of general CLE in Washington.
WA Ethics: This program is approved for 0.50 Ethics units.

OR General: This program is approved for 5.25 units of General CLE in Oregon.
OR Ethics: This program is approved for 0.50 Ethics units.

CA General:  This program is approved for 6.25 units of general CLE in California.
CA Ethics: Approved for 0.50 Ethics units.

NY General: This course is eligible for approval, under New York’s CLE Approved Jurisdiction policy, for 6.00 CLE units. Pincus Professional Education is a CA Accredited Provider, which is a NY approved jurisdiction. See Section 6 of the New York State CLE Board Regulations and Guidelines for further information.

$240.00$429.00 each

March 19 & 21, 2024 | Two-Part Webinar


Click the dropdown to add the Recording for $99 (download) or $105 + tax in CA (DVD/CD).

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