Florida Appellant Skills Lab

Students participating in the new Florida Appellate Skills Lab are currently handling four live appeals all pending before the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahasse, Florida.  All appeals were initiated after a full trial in the lower tribunal.  Three of the appeals are family law related and one was referred to the Skills Lab from the Florida Coastal School of Law Disability Clinic and is an administrative hearing appeal.  The Students have drafted various procedural pleadings required by the Court, and have, or are currently drafting, Initial Appellant Briefs, Answer Briefs and Reply Briefs as required by each case.  One team has even had to filed a Motion to Stay the Final Judgment pending appeal and is currently awaiting a hearing date before the trial court at this time.  Another team was required to file, within a ten day period, a Response to opposing counsel’s  Motion to Dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.  The issue raised by the Motion to Dismiss and the Response is a common area of malpractice for attorneys. The motion raised the legal  question of when does a post trial motion toll the time for filing an appeal? The Students researched and found the necessary case law, Supreme Court committee notes, and amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure to argue that the list of qualifiying motions in the Appellate Rule, as interpreted by the committee and the courts, should result in a decision in our client’s favor. The Response included a full Memorandum of Law defending against the Motion. This team is also currently attempting to settle the issues pending appeal using alternative dispute resolution processes.  The Students are representing pro bono clients at the highest level.  The are exhibiting, in real life, the power of the pen and the art of lawyering.