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IndyBar: Indiana Appellate Institute Moots Eight Cases, Raises Thousands for Scholarships

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The Indiana Appellate Institute was created by the IndyBar Appellate Practice Section in 2010 as a resource for lawyers throughout the state who have oral arguments scheduled before the Indiana Supreme Court or Indiana Court of Appeals. Modeled after the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown Law School, the Indiana Appellate Institute offers “moot” or practice argument sessions before panels of former appellate clerks, seasoned appellate advocates, and subject matter experts who have reviewed the briefs and will ask the sorts of questions an advocate can expect at the actual argument.

In the first six months of 2014, the Institute mooted three Indiana Court of Appeals arguments and five Indiana Supreme Court arguments. Whether preparing for their first argument or their 20th argument, advocates have found the experience enormously helpful and often remarked that several of the questions posed by the judges or justices were ones they encountered in the moot.

The Institute generally schedules a moot argument approximately one week before the actual argument. Panels of either three (Court of Appeals) or four (Supreme Court) lawyers acting as judges pose questions for well over the allotted 20 minutes and then offer constructive feedback to the advocate. The entire experience usually takes about 90 minutes. All moots are confidential, and panelists run conflict checks.

Although the moot arguments were originally offered at no cost, the Institute began charging a $500 fee for some arguments last year. The Institute recently revisited its policy on fees. Advocates representing an indigent or pro bono client are never charged a fee nor are advocates preparing for their first oral argument in any court. Others may apply for a fee waiver or reduced fee by explaining their circumstances. The advocate form and further information is available at indybar.org/appellateinstitute.

Advocates in four of the 2014 cases paid a fee, which is being used by the Appellate Practice Section to fund scholarships for Indiana lawyers to attend the Appellate Judges Education Institute (AJEI) conference in Dallas in November.

The Institute is only possible because of the service of many lawyers as volunteer judges. Most spend at least one to as many as several hours preparing for each moot argument in addition to the 90-minute moot. The Institute thanks the following lawyers who served on panels in 2014: Arend Abel, Bryan Babb, Victoria Bailey, Lucy Dollens, Yvonne Dutton, Tyler Helmond, Amy Karozos, Michael Limrick, Patricia McMath, Stephen Peters, Dino Pollock, Joel Schumm, Geoff Slaughter and Suzy St. John.

Lawyers who would like to volunteer to serve on a panel in the future should complete the judge form available at indybar.org/appellateinstitute.•

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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