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July 2013

Appellate specialization in Louisiana: What you can do to help

Some colleagues of mine are working toward having appellate law recognized as specialized field by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization. If that is something you’d like to see, you can help bring it about.

The first step in the process is to demonstrate support for the idea among member of the Louisiana bar. This is where you come in. Click here to download an Appellate Law Specialization Form. Print out and fill in the form. Then mail the completed form to Rebecca Wissler, who is collecting the completed forms to submit to the Board. Her address:

Rebecca Wissler
Adams and Reese LLP
701 Poydras Street, Suite 4500
New Orleans, LA 70139


A useful CLE today at the La. 4th Circuit

Today I attended an interesting one-hour CLE at the Louisiana Fourth Circuit. It was part of the New Orleans Bar Association’s Approach the Bench series. Judge Rosemary Ledet and Clerk of Court Danielle Schott talked about some of the court’s inner workings. The best part of this CLE hour was the price: free for NOBA members; $25 for non-members.

One thing I learned is how 3-judge panels are drawn for supervisory-writ applications. Each non-emergency writ application is randomly assigned as it is filed. This means that if two writ applications are filed in the same day, each will have its own randomly-assigned panel. Emergency writ applications are handled differently. The court has something akin to the duty judge you often find in a district court: one 3-judge panel assigned to emergency-writ duty for a particular week. Please note that this system is not necessarily used in the other courts of appeal; it’s the Fourth Circuit’s own system.

Another thing I learned concerns the court’s practice of e-mailing notices of orders and decisions to lawyers involved in an appeal or a writ application. In that area, the clerk’s office is pro-active. You don’t need to sign up for e-mail notices; the clerk’s office will use your bar number to get your e-mail address from the LSBA web site, and put you on the e-mail distribution list for the case. Some things you can do to help this process: Keep your e-mail address with the LSBA up to date. Notify the clerk’s office if your e-mail address changes. And always include your e-mail address in your signature block. (You were doing that already, right?)

New and increased filing fees at the La. Supreme Court

Effective July 1, 2013, the Louisiana Supreme Court has increased some filing fees and instituted some new ones. For example, filing a writ application will now cost $323, and filing a reply in support of a writ application will now cost $50. A recap of the Court’s new fee schedule is here, and accompanying amendments to the Court’s rules are here. See also Act No. 353 for the enabling legislation.

Fax-filing emergency writ applications at the La. 1st Circuit

The Louisiana First Circuit has adopted a new local rule for fax-filing emergency writ applications, effective July 1, 2013. For a summary of the new rule, click here; for the full text of the new rule, click here.

The First Circuit has also promulgated an updated fee schedule, effective July 1, 2013. The good news: motions for extension of a briefing deadline or an enlargement of the briefing page limit are still $25.