Cal. Litig. 2019, Volume 32, Number 3
- A Journey to a Paramount Moment in International Dispute Resolution: the Singapore Convention
- An Honorarium to Stan Bachrack
- California-Federal Procedural Contrast: Conjecture About Selected Differences
- Climate Change Comes to the Ninth Circuit: Juliana v. U.S. Tests a Novel Due Process Claim with Far-Reaching Implications for Environmental Litigation
- Editor's Foreword Still Flying High
- From the Section Chair 2019 Was Great; Let's Make 2020 Better
- Is It Time for a Major Shift in Thinking About Under-Publication of Court of Appeal Opinions in California?
- Letters To the Editor
- Out with the Old, in with the New - Try an Updated Approach to Jury Selection
- Roberts Rules: the Census and Gerrymandering Cases
- Table of Contents
- The Browns of California: the Family Dynasty That Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation
- The California Supreme Court, 2018-2019: the Rise of the Brown Court?
- Choosing and Using Case Authority: Tips and Ethics for Litigators
Choosing and Using Case Authority: Tips and Ethics for Litigators
By Sarah Hofstadter
Sarah Hofstadter is counsel with the California Appellate Law Group LLP, a 15-lawyer appellate boutique with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Sarah spent more than a dozen years as a research and staff attorney on the California Courts of Appeal and the Ninth Circuit.
Under both California and federal appellate rules, legal arguments in briefs must be supported by citations to appropriate authority. (Fed. Rules App. Proc., rule 28(a)(8)(A); Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.204(a)(1)(B).) And in trial courts, a memorandum of points and authorities or other written argument carries little weight if it cites no authorities.
In any court, when the relevant authority is case law, selecting the right cases to cite, and using them correctly and effectively, is not a simple endeavor. It requires the exercise of skill and judgment, and due concern for ethical considerations.