1. Prerequisite: Admiralty.
2. Scheduling: The first meeting will be on [day & date]. Thereafter we'll meet on [day] from [time].
3. General description: The course is organized along the lines of an appellate court. We will present and review recent important admiralty and related decisions.
4. Student responsibilities:
a. First round of cases:
(1) Each student will be assigned the role of counsel for appellant (or rehearing applicant, petitioner for certiorari, etc.) in a recent case. In that capacity, the student will be obligated to: (i) prepare an appropriate brief and turn it in together with a copy for each member of the class at a prearranged date and time1; and (ii) deliver a 20-minute oral argument.
(2) In addition each student will be assigned the role of counsel for appellee in a different case. In that capacity, the student will be obligated to (i) prepare an appropriate bench memorandum2, and turn it in together with a copy for each member of the class at a prearranged date and time3; and (ii) deliver a 20-minute oral argument.
b. Second round of cases:
(1) Each student will be counsel for appellant in a recent case. The drill will be that described at 4-a-(1), but with appellants preparing bench memorandum2 rather than full briefs.
(2) Each student will be counsel for appellee in a recent case. The drill will be that described at 4-a-(2).
c. Judging: The instructor and the students who are not counsel in the case under consideration will sit as an appellate court to hear arguments and render decision. Thus, each student's responsibilities include functioning as a member of an appellate court hearing oral argument whenever not functioning as a lawyer. This responsibility entails a significant amount of preparation, including studying each appellant's brief, doing enough research to discover whether appellant's brief is accurate as to the state of the background law, and creating in imagination an appellee's brief. Each judge is expected to ask counsel just the right number of intelligent questions. Each judge is also expected to participate in deliberations looking toward a decision in the case, and (as to cases in the first round) to offer a cogent critique of the appellant's brief. d. The instructor will critique and edit the appellants' briefs. Each student will be responsible for rewriting the brief in response to that edit and turning in a final copy by 5 p.m. on May 1.
(1) Appellants' briefs and bench memoranda are due by 9 a.m. on the Monday preceding oral argument. Please e-mail a copy to me and to each member of the class.
(2) Unlike the full briefs, the bench memoranda need not follow any particular form. In general the bench memorandum should be no longer than five double- spaced pages. It should set forth the main factual and legal arguments counsel expects to make, together with any authorities that are squarely on point or otherwise centrally important. 3-Appellees' bench memoranda are due by 9 a.m. on the day of oral argument. Again, please serve me and each member by e-mail.
5. Summary of students' responsibilities: Each student will:
- write an appellant's brief;
- after argument in the case, rewrite that brief to take account of the argument and the instructor's editorial critique;
- write three bench memoranda;
- deliver four 20-minute oral arguments (twice as appellant, twice as appellee);
- serve as a member of the court when not acting as counsel.
6. Grading: There is no examination. The course grade will be determined on the basis of the student's demonstrated ability and effort in fulfilling each of the obligations outlined above. There is no formal weighting of the assigned tasks, although obviously the appellant's brief and the four oral arguments count the most. The assessment for grading purposes will be made on the basis of the entire semester's oral and written work.
7. Rules: (a) Missing a session of the course is impermissible except by prearrangement. (b) As is true in most appellate courts, late submission of the brief means forfeiture of oral argument. (c) Missing oral argument is a capital offense. (d) The briefs must conform to the applicable rules of court in every particular save length; as to length, they must not exceed 25 double- spaced typewritten pages.