Before You Arrive at 5th Circuit: 3 To-Do's - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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Before You Arrive at 5th Circuit: 3 To-Do's

So you plan on going into the Fifth Circuit for the first time, and you're psyched. It may be an exciting moment for new attorneys or even veteran litigators, but you need to take care of some business before you arrive.

Show up at the Fifth Circuit prepared by completing these three to-do's.

1. Get Admitted to the Fifth Circuit Bar

If you're not from Texas, Louisiana, or Mississippi, the thought of applying to the Fifth Circuit bar may have never come up. But in order to appear before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, every attorney needs to be admitted to the Fifth Circuit's bar.

A good place to start would be by filling out the Application for Oath and Admission, which will ask for basic contact information as well as whether you have been disciplined or under criminal investigation. So make sure to mention if you're under ethical investigation for any reason -- cough Judge Jones -- cough.

Unless you qualify for an exemption, you'll also need to provide $226 and a certificate of good standing from a state bar or federal court. The admission to practice in the Fifth Circuit lasts five years, and the court's clerk should give you notice to reapply before it expires.

2. Appearance Form and Docket

Don't be one of those attorneys who is scrambling at the podium to fill out the required paperwork in the few minutes before your case is called.

Fill out the Fifth Circuit's Appearance of Counsel form ahead of time to avoid unnecessary stress. The form will also ask about any related or pending cases before the Fifth Circuit that you're aware of.

And speaking of related cases, you might want to double-check the court's docket (requires PACER access) to see where you are on the calendar. Or better yet, if your case has been moved to another day.

3. Find Out Where to Park

Parking may seem like a silly concern -- unless you're handicapped -- but if this is your first time traveling to the Fifth Circuit, you don't want to give yourself an aneurism driving around lost. Especially in the rain, and it does tend to rain in New Orleans.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is located at 600 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70310. Use Google Maps or your favorite maps app (maybe still using MapQuest?) to get directions from you to the courthouse and then print a hard copy.

The court's website describes the parking situation as "limited" but there are paid garage spaces within 1-2 blocks of the courthouse. Check out the rates with Central Parking/Standard Parking for a dozen or so different options.

Once you have these three administrative tasks squared away, you can focus on what's important -- the content of your legal arguments, zealously representing your client ... and maybe what to wear.

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