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Details on 9th Circuit's New Appellate Mentoring Program

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By William Peacock, Esq. on April 12, 2013 3:43 PM

New to the Ninth Circuit? New to appellate work in general? The Appellate Mentoring Program is a new service offered by the Ninth Circuit that pairs volunteer mentors with those in need - whether they be new to the practice of law or simply rusty at appellate work.

Though the program will provide general assistance in appellate practice, there will be an emphasis on habeas corpus petitions and immigration law. Mentors must have experience in immigration, habeas petitions, and/or general appellate practice.

The program will be handled through Appellate Lawyer Representatives, who will recruit volunteer mentors and play matchmaker with incoming requests from mentees. The Ninth Circuit will include information on the program in the case opening materials and, when necessary, suggest the program to attorneys who could use the help.

Requests for mentoring should be sent to mentoring@ca9.uscourts.gov.

Though mentors will provide information on mechanics of perfecting an appeal, effective research, available resources, issues to address in the case, strategy, and writing feedback, the mentee is the only person responsible for the case itself. Decisions on strategy, issues to present, and counseling the client are all their own. Mentors will be available for tears and jeers afterwards.

And of course, because we are all lawyers, "[b]y participating in the program, the mentee agrees that the mentor shall not be liable for any suggestions made. In all events, the mentee is deemed to waive and is estopped from asserting any claim for legal malpractice against the mentor."

Jokes aside, this sounds like a pretty promising program. Not only will it keep the judges from self-immolating after reading hundreds of terribly-written and unorganized briefs, it will help the clients as well. Mentorship and professional development should lead to better representation of the interests of the clients.

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