Appellate Practice Section

Benefits and Activities

The Appellate Practice Section of the MSBA helps educate appellate practitioners, offering opportunities for those practitioners to connect with the bench, and providing pro bono training and opportunities in the appellate arena. A list of the Officers and Council Members is available: Here.

Currently, the Appellate Section’s primary activities are:

  • Quarterly Appellate Lunches. The Section plans a series of four lunchtime CLEs per year, most of which take place at the Minnesota Judicial Center. The series is designed to offer an informal chance for the appellate bench and bar to learn about new developments in the law and to connect with each other. You can find out more about upcoming CLEs by using the tab “Meetings/CLEs” at the top of this page.
  • Appellate Practice Institute. The Section plans this full-day CLE each year (typically held in March) to offer both appellate fundamentals to those who find themselves infrequently on appeal, as well as nuanced pointers for the most seasoned appellate advocates. The 2019 API will be held on March 15th at Minnesota CLE and you can click here for more information and registration.
  • Appeals Self-Help Clinic. A joint initiative of the Section and the Minnesota State Law Library, this monthly walk-in clinic is to offer brief advice for people who are representing themselves.Training is available for Self-Help Volunteers. 
  • Networking and Connecting. The Section hosts an annual dinner for all members of the section in May.  All section members are welcome. Additional social events are planned throughout the year.
  • Pro Bono Opportunities.  The Section helps connect appellate lawyers with pro bono opportunities and train them in those substantive areas of law. Those opportunities fall in three substantive areas:
    • Criminal Appeals. The Section, in coordination with the Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender, has instituted a program that enables attorneys to handle criminal appeals on behalf of the appellate public defender. The program provides civil attorneys with opportunities for appellate brief-writing and oral argument before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and/or Minnesota Supreme Court. The Section will offer training in November 2013 for attorneys interested in helping with pro bono criminal appeals. 
    • Asylum. The Section sponsored a training by The Advocates for Human Rights on asylum appeals in September of 2011. We can help link attorneys to cases.   
    • Unemployment compensation. The Section sponsored a training on handling unemployment compensation cases in October 2012 and helps link practitioners to pro bono cases.
Share Expertise. Our Section regularly hosts events where appellate judges educate practitioners about the most significant decisions of the previous year. Our Section also recruits appellate lawyers to accompany appellate judges and help explain new appellate decisions during the MSBA’s “Nine Days in June” programs.  Our Section also responds to queries from the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Supreme Court about our perspective on potential rule or policy changes.  We also maintain an array of materials to help appellate practitioners on the MSBA practicelaw site.  Those materials include federal and state appellate brief templates and a selection of articles.  A number of our materials have recently been updated, including these articles:

    • Initiating an Appeal: State Court.  By Judge Mary Vasaly.
    • Initiating an Appeal: Federal Court. By Judge Mary Vasaly.
    • Behind the Scenes at the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court.  Revised by George Norris and Michael Thro.
    • Petitions for Review: Unlocking the Mysteries. Updated by Katherine McBride. 
    • Protecting the Right to Appeal: Post-Trial Motions In Minnesota.  Updated by Diane Bratvold.
    • Stays and Supersedeas Bonds.  Updated by Katherine McBride.
    • Taxation of Costs. Updated by Tim Droske. 

All of the Appellate practicelaw materials can be accessed by MSBA members here

Questions or ideas? Let us know. Contact the current Section Chair


Section members, visit the Appellate Practice Community at!