The Bledsoe Firm JustFamilyLaw.com | 949.363.5551 August | 2019
O ne of the M ost I mportant L essons I’ ve L earned in the C ourtroom F or the first time in my career, I recently had the opportunity to argue at the California Courts of Appeal. Even though I’m an experienced attorney and have taken on
for years now), had a lot of work to do. Since 2017, the opposition has filed to appeal twice. This was our first appeal. This case, like many others, is a reminder that the wheels of justice can turn slow. It can be complicated and require a significant amount of work. This case, in particular, has been so contested and so challenging that, win or lose, there is a good chance this will be a major published case.
many cases, this was something out of the scope of what I normally do. It’s out of the scope for most attorneys. Arguing at the Courts of Appeal is a rarity. I rarely get worked up or overly concerned when I’m about to step inside a courtroom. I’ve done it so many times that it’s second nature. I walk in as prepared as possible and go to work for my client. When it comes to the Courts of Appeal, you're entering a different kind of space. It has a unique format as opposed to the courtrooms I see on a daily basis. In the Courts of Appeal, each side gets 30 minutes to present their case to the three judges. In my case, I’m arguing on behalf
What do I mean by that? Some attorneys will list their published cases on their resume, though it’s not a common thing. In our case, we’re dealing with several complex legal issues, so I think it may be worth listing. We’re really fleshing out the law with this case and building a framework for potential future cases.
of a client who was defrauded and had a significant sum of money stolen from them. They were a successful businessperson who had their life derailed by someone else — the person we were up against, along with their team of lawyers. At this point in the case, as we stood in the Courts of Appeal, the other side had nothing else to do but argue the appeal. I, along with my
Anyway, let’s get back to the case: There was something specific that happened that caught me completely off guard. I went into the courtroom keyed up. I prepped as well as I thought I could. I knew the details, and I knew what I wanted to say. However, that all changed when one of the judges said something I wasn’t expecting. In the Courts of Appeal, you argue before a panel of three judges. These are the judges who are generally renowned in the legal community, if not the community at large. They’re further into their careers and have a lot of experience under their belts. Well, about a minute and a half into my 30-minute argument, one of the presiding judges threw out a point that no one had considered up until that moment. It was a point that could derail my case. I thought, “ Oh no — I can’t believe this is happening.”
"... even if you’re thinking you’re experiencing the 'worst-case scenario,' it may
actually be a good thing."
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associate attorneys who had been a part of the case from the very beginning (as this has been going on
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