Appellate Advocacy in the Age of COVID-19

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: May 04, 2020
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  • Learn best technology options for my needs
  • Learn best practices for courts and judges conducting oral or video arguments
  • Learn best practices for attorneys conducting oral or video arguments
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Recorded: May 4, 2020


With many states adopting stay-at-home orders or recommendations, more and more appellate courts are moving to online arguments through various video platforms. Hear from our expert panel on best practices for such arguments. Jim Hivner, Clerk of the Appellate Courts in Tennessee, will discuss the technical logistics of setting up such arguments.

Judge Albert Diaz, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Justice Eva Guzman, Texas Supreme Court, will discuss how the bench can best adapt to this kind of argument. Finally, our practitioners Andrew Simpson and Jeffrey Garish, will guide you on the ways to best present your case under these circumstances.

This program was recorded on May 4th, 2020.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Jeffrey C. Gerish

Plunkett Cooney

A member of Plunkett Cooney’s Board of Directors, Jeffrey C. Gerish practices in the areas of appellate law, insurance coverage, commercial litigation and employment litigation.

Mr. Gerish is a member of Plunkett Cooney’s Appellate Law Practice Group, which is one of the only dedicated appellate practice groups in Michigan. His successful appellate representation has resulted in numerous published opinions in Michigan and Indiana, where he is also licensed and regularly practices, as well as in several federal appellate courts. He is also a member of the firm’s Insurance Coverage Practice Group.

Mr. Gerish received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan, and he is a member of several professional organizations.

James Michael Hivner

Clerk of the Appellate Courts
Tennessee Supreme Court

James (Jim) M. Hivner, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, was confirmed by the Executive Committee to the office of Treasurer of the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks (NCACC).

Hivner was appointed to a six-year term as Clerk of the Supreme Court of Tennessee in 2014. In his role as Clerk, Hivner serves the Supreme Court of Tennessee as well as the Court of Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals in Tennessee. Prior to his appointment, Hivner served for two years as Chief Administrative Officer of the Shelby County Chancery Court.

Before working for the courts, Hivner was in private practice for almost 20 years as a solo practitioner in Alabama and later as an associate in the law firm of Waring Cox, PLC in Memphis, TN, and as an associate and member in the law firm of Glankler Brown, PLLC in Memphis, TN. Prior to his legal career, Hivner worked at NASA as an accountant. Hivner earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with high honors from the University of Tennessee and received his J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Alabama School of Law.

Hivner has been a member of the NCACC since 2014 and has served as Chair of the Bylaws Committee, Vice-Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee, and as a member of the Site Selection Committee.

The NCACC was established in 1973 with the objectives of improving the skills and knowledge of its members, promoting effective court administration, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas, and maintaining facilities for the dissemination of information concerning appellate court operations. Its membership is composed of state, federal, and military appellate and supreme court clerks from the United States, District of Columbia, territories and possessions of the United States, and tribal appellate courts.

Eva Guzman

Supreme Court of Texas
Supreme Court of Texas

Eva M. Guzman is a justice on the Texas Supreme Court. She was appointed by Republican Governor Rick Perry on October 8, 2009. She was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2016. She is the first Latina woman to serve on the court. Her current term expires on December 31, 2022.

Prior to assuming her seat on the state supreme court, Guzman served as a district judge for Texas' 309th District Court and as an appellate judge for Texas' Fourteenth Court of Appeals.

Guzman received her B.B.A. from the University of Houston and her J.D. from South Texas College of Law.

Andrew C. Simpson

Andrew C. Simpson, P.C.

Mr. Simpson is an experienced trial and appellate attorney who has practiced law since 1988 and practiced law in the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1991. He frequently appears in the courts of the Virgin Islands and the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He believes in giving clients a realistic assessment of their cases at the outset of the litigation so that they can make informed decisions about pursuing litigation, settlement and/or appeals. Mr. Simpson's goal in the early assessment of the case is to ensure that, absent the development of unforeseen circumstances, the assessment of the case will not change as the case approaches trial.

Mr. Simpson is nationally recognized for his use of technology in delivering services to his clients and explaining cases to a jury. He speaks regularly at seminars on technology, including speaking at the 2008 ABA TECHSHOW. He also serves on the editorial board of the ABA's GP|Solo Technology and Practice Guide.

Albert Diaz

US Court of Appeals 4th Circuit

Albert Diaz is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. He was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama. Diaz is the first Hispanic judge to serve on the Fourth Circuit. Diaz received his commission to serve the court on December 22, 2010.

On November 4, 2009, Diaz was nominated by President Obama to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit vacated by William Walter Wilkins. The American Bar Association rated Diaz Unanimously Well Qualified for the nomination.[4] Hearings on Diaz's nomination were held before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary on December 16, 2009, and his nomination was reported by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on January 28, 2010. Diaz was confirmed on a voice vote of the U.S. Senate on December 18, 2010, and he received his commission on December 22, 2010.

Diaz earned his undergraduate degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1983, his J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 1988, and his M.S. from Boston University in 1993.

Hon. David K. Thomson

New Mexico Supreme Court

David K. Thomson is a justice on the New Mexico Supreme Court. On January 25, 2019, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) appointed Thomson to succeed Petra Jimenez Maes. Thomson must stand for election in 2020 to remain on the bench. Thomson was a judge of the First Judicial District Court in New Mexico from 2015 to 2019. He was elected in November 2014. He had previously served on the court in 2010. Governor Bill Richardson (D) appointed him to the bench on March 29, 2010, but Thomson lost the election that November.

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