Picture this:  it has been two years since the last time you filed a Petition for Writ of Supersedeas in the Court of Appeals.  You generally recall what to do, but you know you should consult the Rules of Appellate Procedure before filing to be sure.  Oh, and the Appendixes to the Rules.  And also any case law interpreting the Rules.  And any unwritten customs or best practices.  Isn’t there some way to make this process a bit easier?

Yes, there is.  The NCBA’s Appellate Rules Committee, comprising appellate practitioners, Judges, and Justices, publishes a document called the Appellate Style Manual to help practitioners navigate the appellate waters in our state courts.  The Style Guide contains samples, or “go-bys,” for many of the common documents you might file, from the Notice of Appeal, to the Record and all its subparts, to Briefs, to Petitions, etc.  The samples are annotated with helpful tips, best practices, and suggestions from the Committee. 

Yesterday, a new and improved version of the Style Manual was published by the Committee.  With this 2012 revision, a number of new features have been added, including: a chart summarizing the items that constitute a typical record on appeal, a typical Petition for Writ of Supersedeas and Motion for Temporary Stay, and a typical Rule 9(d) Documentary Exhibit, among other updates. 

Of course, the Style Manual is not a publication of the court, and should not be relied upon to the exclusion of the Rules themselves.  But it is a great place to start.

Finally, we on the Rules Committee are always seeking feedback on the Style Manual, or any other suggestions you might have for ways we can help those practicing in the North Carolina appellate courts.  Drop the Committee a line, at govaffairs@ncbar.org.

–Matt Leerberg