Beth and Matt’s treatise, North Carolina Appellate Practice and Procedure, is finally available! Published by LexisNexis in both print and online versions, the treatise represents the culmination of several years, and many thousands of hours, of hard work.
The treatise grew out of the same circumstances that spurred us to create this blog in 2011. The practice of law in North Carolina’s appellate courts can be procedurally tricky. Customs and best practices aren’t necessarily obvious. And important appellate issues can sometimes be governed by statutes, rules, or case authority that can seem counterintuitive. We have long been committed to improving the quality of appellate advocacy and helping to make our appellate courts accessible to the many—rather than just the few. Our inspiration for creating the blog (and now the treatise) was to gather the guidance, wisdom, and experience we’ve collected over the years and make them available to lawyers of all stripes.
But the treatise—like the blog—grew to be much more than just a repository for practical tips and inside baseball. Appellate practice in North Carolina is intellectually rich and nuanced. There is more than meets the eye.
For example, you probably know that a panel of the Court of Appeals is bound by the decisions of earlier panels. But many complications arise when you start thinking about possible exceptions to that rule. We spent some time reflecting on the topic in treatise section 16.05, Precedential Value of Appellate Opinions and Orders.
Here’s another example. It has long been said that the requirements of Appellate Rule 3 are “jurisdictional.” But is that still true, especially in light of more recent statutory developments? Or does the single word “jurisdictional” carry different connotations in different contexts? For instance, when an appellate court says that a requirement is “jurisdictional,” what does that mean? That the court does not have the authority—under the constitution or the controlling statutes—to move forward? That the court might have that authority, but cannot be sure because the parties failed to show as much? Or that the court has the authority to proceed, but finds that a party defaulted on a rules-based pre-requisite necessary to support review? We develop our theory of “jurisdictional requirements” in section 28.02, Distinctions Among Different Types of “Jurisdictional” Violations.
The more we thought about issues like these, the more opportunities we saw not only to help the occasional appellate practitioner, but also to move the law forward.
Of course, the law is a moving target. And the first edition of North Carolina Appellate Practice and Procedure is already dated. As our courts continue to decide open issues and our Appellate Rules shift with the times, there will always be breaking news and fresh developments—the types of content that are perfect for this blog.
The members of Fox’s NCAPB.com blogging team bring diverse experiences and knowledge to bear on the development of appellate practice in North Carolina. We hope that you continue to enjoy the different voices and perspectives that this blog brings to your inbox.
And, of course, we continue to need and value the input of our blog readers. Our NCAPB.com audience has long been an important source for new ideas, leads, and developments regarding the law. Many, many blog posts spring from comments and tips from you—the reader.
The treatise is no different. When we flip through it, we see the handiwork of the dozens of people who contributed to it: our fellow bloggers, our incredible appellate coordinator, our wonderful team of proofreaders, our other Fox Rothschild colleagues, and the friends and readers of this blog. And, of course, we cannot thank our longsuffering families enough for their support of this project.
Here’s to many more years of exploring the world of North Carolina appeals—together.
–Beth Scherer & Matt Leerberg