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Appellate Advocacy Research Guide: Getting Started

This guide provides links to and descriptions of the Library's best and most popular appellate advocacy resources . It includes resources on state and federal rules, brief writing, oral argument, and appellate practice before state and federal courts.

Introduction to Appellate Advocacy

An unsuccessful party in a lawsuit or administrative proceeding may file a timely appeal to the appropriate superior court empowered to review a final decision on the ground that the decision was based upon an erroneous application of law.  The practice of law that includes representing unsuccessful parties before state or federal courts of appeal is known as appellate advocacy.

About this Guide

This guide is intended as an aid for students (and possibly practitioners) who seek assistance with, or a deeper understanding of, some aspect of appellate practice.  The guide is divided by resources type: books, journals, databases, and free web resources.  Each of these pages is then further subdivided by topic.  This page also contains links to basic rules for pertinent court rules for Illinois and federal appellate practice and some recommended starting points.

Appellate advocacy is as much of an art as science.  Therefore, this guide focuses on techniques and examples.  These techniques are most often found in academic texts and practice guides, i.e., "books".  The Books page of this Guide tracks "books" based on particular topics or techniques--brief writing, oral argument etc.  The books page is the heart of this Guide.  Some, but not many "books" exist online via commercial aggregators Like Lexis and Westlaw.  The Electronic Resources page includes links to all online sources of books or guides found on the Books page.

Dan K. Webb Center for Advocacy

Recommended Resources for Advocacy Course

There are a variety of different textbooks and supplements that professors and practitioners rely on to polish their appellate briefs and oral arguments.  You can find these throughout this guide. The sources that follow are the ones most recommended for first-year law students in the School's Advocacy classes.

For those practicing before the Seventh Circuit, two online resources are also recommended: the Practitioner's Handbook for Appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit,,  and the Seventh Circuit Brief Filing Checklist,  Your teachers may refer to these in class.

Subject Guide