Talks, Slides, and Papers

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Testing the Conventional Wisdom of Appeals

Dallas Appellate Section ()

As appellate lawyers, we develop through our own experience a kind of intuition about which strategies make a difference on appeal. Those intuitions become tips or advice, or once repeated at enough appellate CLEs, our shared conventional wisdom about strategy.

This talk was a kind of ‘working paper’ of some questions and answers I’ve been working through by analyzing my database of Texas Supreme Court fiings and activity.

The task I set for myself was testing how some of our conventional wisdom about Texas Supreme Court practice holds up under empirical scrutiny. When the conventional wisdom fits the data, we can be more assured in giving our clients strategic advice. When it doesn’t fit the data, we need to go deeper.

Some of this analysis has already worked its way into later talks, such as my conclusions about the effects of amicus filers.