As discussed previously, Third Court of Appeals Justice Diane Henson spoke to the Austin Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm Section last week. With her permission, I am posting a copy of her handout here.
Justice Henson gave a useful overview of how the Third Court conducts its business and offered some helpful briefing and oral-argument tips. One thing I learned was that the Court doesn’t have access to Westlaw, so advocates should consider providing a Lexis cite for opinions not published in the South Western Reporter.
The following point also stuck with me: Don’t ask the Court to reschedule an oral argument unless you have a very good reason. Aside from the fact that oral argument is not granted in most cases, the argument calendar fills up pretty far in advance because the Court is required to give the parties 21 days notice of the setting. A valuable time slot may go unfilled because of a late cancellation.
As a Westlaw subscriber, I haven’t figured out an easy solution to the Lexis issue, though I would just include a copy of the opinion in my appendix if it were important enough. On rescheduling, one of my clients actually benefitted from a late cancellation earlier this year when the clerk called and asked if I could argue a case the following week. Fortunately, the case was not overly complicated, so we were able to pull it off.
If you have a case going to the Third Court of Appeals or questions about Texas appellate practice generally, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss whether I can help.