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Appellate Practice Academy


Appellate arguments are a uniquely difficult kind of advocacy. Due to frequent interruptions from the judges or justices, advocates must be able to anticipate the most difficult questions, remain flexible with points of emphasis, and pack persuasive force into rapid-fire answers.

The best way to prepare for such a challenge is to practice by arguing in front of a panel of lawyers who are new to the case; well acquainted with the judges or justices who will actually be making the decision; and exceptionally experienced in the courts of appeal and supreme courts. We can help.

Over the past five years, Warner Norcross + Judd’s appellate team has argued in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Michigan Supreme Court, the New Jersey Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals, as well as other state and federal appellate courts. Academy members Richard A. Bandstra, Michael F. Cavanagh, Maura Corrigan and William C. Whitbeck heard and decided thousands of cases during their decades of experiences as judges on the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court. 

From our own experience, we know that mooting an appellate argument dramatically improves the quality of the actual presentation to the appellate court. We regularly moot our own appeals, and we see the positive results.

We also recognize the economic realities that affect how different appeals are handled. Whether the moot is just 30 minutes with one of our experienced appellate advocates or two hours with a full panel to simulate arguments before en banc or supreme courts, we will help you anticipate and answer the most difficult questions about your case.

Representative moot panelists:
The Honorable Richard A. Bandstra served 16 years as a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals, where he heard and decided thousands of cases. He has also served with distinction as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives and as Chief Legal Counsel to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

The Honorable Michael F. Cavanagh served 32 years as a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, including several terms as chief justice.  During his time on Michigan’s highest court, he participated in more than 2,000 cases and authored 557 opinions.  Including his eight years of service as a Michigan Court of Appeals judge, no one has served longer as a Michigan appellate judge.
Matthew Nelson has successfully argued a U.S. Supreme Court case and filed briefs in a dozen more U.S. Supreme Court cases. Matthew has also litigated appeals in the federal courts of appeals throughout the country, including multiple circuits, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Supreme Court. Matthew is a three-time winner of the Michigan Distinguished Brief Award.
Devin Schindler is a Professor at Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School. He has argued 3 times in the Michigan Supreme Court and has litigated numerous constitutional issues at all levels of state and federal courts. Professor Schindler is a frequent legal commentator whose remarks have appeared in Time Magazine, The New York Times and many other media outlets.
The Honorable William C. Whitbeck served nearly 17 years as a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals, including six years as Chief Judge and two years as Chief Judge Pro Tem. He also served in the administrations of three Michigan governors and in leadership positions in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has authored one legal mystery, To Account for Murder, and is hard at work on a second, A Rendezvous with Death.

Contact:  For more information, or to request a consultation, please contact Matthew Nelson (616.752.2539,

Appellate Practice Academy Federal Circuit and State Appellate Experience U.S. Supreme Court


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