Not All Appeals Are Equal

Every year the lawyer research and ranking company Chambers & Partners (sometimes mentioned as C&P herein) puts out a list of top appellate lawyers and firms (in a previous post I looked at some of the listed firms’ cert performance). Chambers uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative methodology to come up with its various…

BriefCatching 2017 Cert-Stage Filings

  Good writing quality is one of the greatest assets for attorneys practicing before any court.  While there is no universally accepted measure of good writing, software engineers are currently designing programs that measure writing quality in innovative and accurate ways.  In past, Empirical SCOTUS has employed off-the-shelf metrics for writing quality to compare filings…

A Chicken and Egg Problem

One of the more difficult questions facing Supreme Court scholars is trying to decipher the impact of the litigants. Given the secrecy with which the Supreme Court conducts the majority of its business, any effort towards understanding the decision making process is inevitably met with frustration.  The most recent insight we have into any of…

Something to Talk About

Oral arguments have always been central to Supreme Court adjudication.  In early Supreme Court practice oral arguments were the primary means by which the justices learned about cases.  Currently, oral arguments convey less original information to the justices, but still are helpful tools for the justices to learn about dimensions in each case not brought out…

Who’s on the Case: Successful Cert Petitions 2017

The Supreme Court has its calendar set through January 2018 with ten cases already accepted for argument that are as of yet unscheduled.  The total number of case grants so far is 53, and with consolidated cases this will lead to 47 arguments.  This puts the Court on pace for one of the slowest grant rates…

A Dearth of Female Attorneys at Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Female attorneys have a long history arguing before the Supreme Court dating back to Belva Lockwood’s argument in 1880. While Lockwood’s argument helped proverbially break the glass ceiling for women to practice before the Supreme Court, such opportunities have proven difficult to come by as female attorneys only make up a small fraction of the…

A Changing of the Guard? (Probably Not But the Evidence is Mixed)

In an article I wrote last year I found several Supreme Court repeat players were much more successful than others in getting the Supreme Court to hear their cases. Many of these “Elite Cert Attorneys” argue multiple cases each term before the justices.  They all have high exposure to all aspects of Supreme Court process and…

SCOTUS Success 2016

Now that the Supreme Court term is over, let the scoring begin.  While this post looks at the most successful firms, litigators, and groups before the Supreme Court during the 2016 term, there are several caveats to note.  First, this post looks at success before the Court as measured by win counts. Second, getting to…

Highly Citable

Attorneys before the Supreme Court have multiple goals.  Whether the ultimate goal is winning a case, affecting public policy, or testing the constitutionality of a piece of legislation, good counsel get the justices’ attention.  How they get the justices’ attention varies.  Some engender attention through their regular experience before the Court while others through the…

Easy Reading (By Supreme Court Standards)

Supreme Court briefs are team efforts usually with a main coordinating partner/attorney who is known as the “counsel of record.”  Although the number of attorneys staffing briefs varies, at the Supreme Court level the number of attorneys listed on the brief is often more than five and can be upwards of ten.  This does not…

Attorneys and Firms in the Supreme Court 2016

The Supreme Court wrapped up oral arguments for the 2016 term on April 26, 2017 with arguments in Sandoz Inc. v. Amgen and Maslenjak v. United States. These marked the 63rd and 64th arguments the Justices heard this term – down five from the 69 arguments the Justices heard a year prior.  While the Court…

Attorney Arguments 2016/2017

The Supreme Court released its final argument calendar of the term with thirteen arguments slated for April. Although this term started out slow, most likely due to the Justices’ apprehension at the possibility of reaching equal divisions in cases, case grants picked up pace especially after the presidential election. Though we won’t see a new…