D.C. Court of Appeals

PDS-CJA Appellate Consultation and Assistance Program

PDS is excited to announce that on September 17, 2018, James Klein, PDS Appellate Training Director, will launch the PDS-CJA Appellate Consultation and Assistance Program.  The program means that he will be available full-time to consult with members of the CJA Appellate Panel in order to offer intensive assistance with the writing of their briefs.

The overarching objective in starting this program is to help CJA appellate practitioners at the beginning of the appellate representation, by creating a collaborative process for the identification of appealable issues and the framing of those issues in the appellate brief.  Because these decisions often have a determinative influence on the outcome of the appeal, the PDS Appellate Division has long believed in the value of working with colleagues during this critical stage of the representation.  In addition, James Klein hopes to be available to provide editorial assistance during the actual writing of an appellate brief.  In this respect, too, the program will emulate the case-specific assistance the PDS Appellate Division offers its own appellate staff.

In important respects, however, the program will differ from the model of assistance used internally at PDS.  Within PDS, consultation and advice are provided in the form of close supervision by a more experienced attorney who exercises oversight authority.  In the PDS-CJA program, all authority will remain with the CJA attorney.  Participating in the program will not commit anyone to accepting any direction or edits.

The PDS-CJA program will also differ from PDS’s internal model because, given the constraints on his time, we cannot guarantee the availability or degree of assistance on any particular case. Depending on their own workloads, members of the PDS Appellate Division might be available on occasion to help with the evaluation of appellate issues and the editing of drafts.

This collaborative program is planned to be a six-month experimental project.  During this time the PDS Appellate Advocacy Course will not meet.  We will, however, continue the moot court program, and James Klein urges anyone with an upcoming oral argument to contact him about arranging a moot court with a combined panel of PDS and CJA judges.

If you would like to consult on a brief or arrange a moot court, please contact James Klein, PDS Appellate Training Director, at [email protected] or (202) 824-2389.   He looks forward to hearing from you.