9th Circuit’s New Appellate Mentoring Program

appellate mentoring chalkboard

For attorneys who are new to appellate work, or for those attorneys new to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in general, a new program promising to foster appellate practice and procedure has been designated by the Ninth Circuit Appellate Lawyer Representatives’ Appellate Mentoring Program.

Appellate Lawyer Representatives are nominated by judges and regular practitioners of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and voted in by the circuit court Judges. Representatives must also be members of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference who actively participate in meetings and the work of the Conference, including coordinating with District Lawyer Representatives where appropriate.

Representatives will act as the coordinators for the Appellate Mentoring Program by recruiting volunteer attorneys with appellate expertise, maintaining lists of those volunteers and their credentials, and otherwise facilitating matches between counsel mentees and mentors.

The program’s focus will be in the areas of immigration law and habeas corpus petitions. The Court also says that it may, in specific cases, suggest that counsel seek appellate mentoring through the voluntary program.

Participants waive all malpractice liability, of course, and information about the Appellate Mentoring Program will be included in the case opening materials sent to counsel.

Overall, the program looks very promising and uniquely rewarding. Any time the legal community comes together to pool its talents and support in judicial process, there can only be positive results. In appellate practice, there is a substantial need to spread these talents and support systems around. Through a strong mentoring program such as the Ninth Circuit’s, the mentee, client and veteran appellate mentor should all benefit significantly.


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