The $500 Million Appellate Brief: Five Takeaways

Written by Ross Guberman on September 17, 2022

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Appellate hotshots from Hogan Lovells and Mayer Brown won a Second Circuit reversal of an order allowing Revlon to keep $500 million that Citi had accidentally wired to its account.

Talk about a return on investment! According to my math, their brief was worth about $10 million a page.

Here are five takeaways (besides double-checking every wire transfer before it goes out).

1. Lead with a narrative line that shows how the parties reached an impasse.

2.  Highlight a pragmatic consequence of losing as if it were just another fact.

3. Craft active-voice headings for the Statement of the Case, perhaps in the present tense.

4. Enumerate points within the argument.

5. Remind the court of the purpose behind legal doctrines.

One final tip: Get high BriefCatch scores on the style front, as this winning appellate brief did with aplomb!



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Ross Guberman

Ross Guberman

Ross Guberman is the president of Legal Writing Pro LLC and the founder of BriefCatch LLC. From Alaska and Hawaii to Paris and Hong Kong, Ross has conducted thousands of workshops on three continents for prominent law firms, judges, agencies, corporations, and associations. His workshops are among the highest rated in the world of professional legal education.

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