The Honorable Andrew S. Effron Discusses Appellate Advocacy
Web Editor - Published: March 22, 2011
On Tuesday, March 22nd, Chief Judge Andrew S. Effron of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces spoke to students on the Delaware campus about how to be effective appellate advocates.

Following an introduction from Professor Michael J. Goldberg, Judge Effron spoke briefly about appellate advocacy in general, offering the students his thoughts on successful brief writing and oral advocacy. He advised students to “Think like a judge, not merely like an advocate,” when writing briefs, and added, “For most courts, the judges will be very well-prepared for oral arguments. Don’t assume that the judges won’t be familiar with the case, and remember that you’re there to help the judges make a decision.”

Judge Effron then took questions from a panel of Widener Law faculty, including Professor Goldberg, Associate Professor Leslie A. Johnson, and Associate Professor and Veterans Law Clinic Director Justin G. Holbrook. Judge Effron addressed issues such as the importance and value of oral arguments as opposed to written briefs and the pacing of appeals heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. He then took questions from the audience.

“You have to step back from that and try not to let it influence you,” said Judge Effron when asked about whether he was at all influenced by the name of a particular lawyer or law firm appearing on a brief. “What you have raised is a very profound question about the nature of judging,” he added, acknowledging that judges must deal with such issues the same way as any other person.

Asked about conceding reasonable points to opposing counsel, Judge Effron said, “Take away the other guy’s brief. Put all the bad facts in there and explain why your client should win anyway.”

A graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, Andrew S. Effron was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in 1996 and became Chief Judge in 2006. Prior to his appointment to the Court, Chief Judge Effron served as General Counsel and Minority Counsel of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as an attorney in the Department of Defense Office of General Counsel, and as a Judge Advocate in the Army.