On-Demand Video

Taking Your Appellate Advocacy in the PA Courts to the Next Level

  • City:
  • Start Date:2023-06-12 20:00:00
  • End Date:2025-06-12 20:00:00
  • Length:
  • Level:Intermediate
  • Topics:Appellate Practice

$249.00 ["ProPass"]

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Every appeal benefits from skilled brief writing and argument.

Join a panel of appellate judges and experienced appellate lawyers as they walk you through the process of appealing a case to a higher court. They’ll also identify potential minefields that you may encounter and provide guidance for side-stepping an explosion. 

The View from the Well of the Court — Experienced Litigators and Corporate Counsel Help You Get Started: 

  • Differing perspectives: trial lawyer vs. appellate lawyer 
  • Preservation of issues, early involvement of appellate viewpoint 
  • Preparing the record 
  • Briefing a commercial case on appeal 

Special Feature: Judges from Pennsylvania’s Appellate Courts Share Their Preferences, Procedures, Pet Peeves 

Best practices tips for appealing to one of the higher courts: 

  • Commonwealth Court 
  • Superior Court 
  • Supreme Court 

The View from the Pa Appellate Courts

  • Workload of the Court & how this impacts complex commercial cases 
  • The time between acceptance and final decision 
  • Commercial vs. criminal vs. personal injury vs. domestic vs. estates and other cases  
  • How to most effectively present a commercial appeal 
  • Specialization among jurists – criminal/ personal injury/domestic/ estates/ commercial 
  • Pennsylvania’s place in business law—the Bench’s versus practitioners’ perspectives 

Two convenient attendance options

  • In-person in Mechanicsburg for in-person time with the judges and attorneys on the panel.
  • Virtually via webcast for ease of attending anywhere.

All attendees will receive the course book as a digital download.

Recorded in June 2023.


David Wecht

David N. Wecht was elected to a ten-year term on The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in November 2015, and began his service as a Supreme Court Justice in January 2016. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court is the oldest appellate court in the United States of America and predates the nation’s independence by several decades. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania was established by the Commonwealth’s Judiciary Act of 1722 and traces its roots to the Provincial Appellate Court created in 1684. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Justice Wecht served as a Judge of The Superior Court of Pennsylvania from January 2012 to January 2016, and as a Judge on The Court of Common Pleas for Pennsylvania’s Fifth Judicial District from February 2003 to January 2012. From January 2009 to January 2011, Justice Wecht served by appointment of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as Administrative Judge of the Fifth Judicial District’s Family Division, which encompasses both domestic relations cases and cases of juvenile dependency and delinquency. As Administrative Judge, Justice Wecht designed and implemented several reforms and innovations, including the Unified Family Court, the local rule on parenting coordination, and improved conflict counsel appointments in juvenile cases. Prior to taking the bench, Justice Wecht was twice elected as the Allegheny County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court. In that capacity, he pioneered innovations that included creation of a free will consultation program for seniors and authorship of a state law that prevents accused murderers from controlling their victims’ estates. Justice Wecht is a 1984 Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale, where he was a National Merit Scholar and earned Yale College Distinction in both history and political science. At Yale Law School, Justice Wecht was selected as Notes Editor of the Yale Law Journal, and as an Editor of both the Yale Law & Policy Review and the Yale Journal of International Law. While a law student, he also volunteered as a certified legal intern in the Office of the State’s Attorney in New Haven, Connecticut, and provided pro bono legal assistance to inmates of the Green Haven Correctional Facility in Stormville, New York. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1987, Justice Wecht served as Law Clerk to U.S. Circuit Judge George MacKinnon on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington, D.C., and received the Award for Distinguished Service in that position. From January 1989 until taking the bench in February 2003, Justice Wecht continuously practiced law, first at Williams & Connolly in Washington, DC, then at Katarincic & Salmon in Pittsburgh, PA, and finally at The Wecht Law Firm in Pittsburgh, PA. He was licensed to practice in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., and was admitted to the bar of numerous state and federal courts, including The Supreme Court of the United States. A frequent lecturer to bench, bar, and community groups throughout Pennsylvania and in several other states, Justice Wecht also has served for many years on the faculties of the Duquesne University School of Law and the University of Pittsburgh. He has taught at universities in China and Israel. Justice Wecht’s extra-judicial writings have appeared in a number of publications, including the Yale Law Journal, Gonzaga Law Review, Widener Commonwealth Law Review, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Pennsylvania Bar Quarterly, Pennsylvania Lawyer, Pennsylvania Law Weekly, Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, Pittsburgh Legal Journal, Tablet, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Midstream, and others. Justice Wecht also serves or has served as a Fellow or Member of several professional organizations, including the American Law Institute, the Judicial Education Advisory Board of George Mason University’s Law & Economics Center, the Allegheny County Bar Foundation, and the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges. He has volunteered his time to a number of governmental, civic, and community boards and groups, including the Parent Education & Advocacy Leadership Center, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee, the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee of the Community College of Allegheny County, the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges Commission, and others. Justice Wecht was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill section, and attended Shady Side Academy, where he played football and lacrosse. Justice Wecht and his wife Valerie were married at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Congregation, on whose Board of Trustees he served. Justice Wecht and his wife continue to live in Allegheny County, where they raised four children, all of whom are now adults.

James Sargent Jr., Esq.

As Co-Chairman of Lamb McErlane’s Appellate Advocacy Group and Litigation Department, Mr. Sargent has represented major national and multinational manufacturers in litigation and appeals involving class action, product liability, taxation, warranty, fraud, employment and consumer protection law claims. Named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for appellate law since 2006, his practice regularly includes commercial contracts, real estate and banking law, construction litigation, restrictive covenants, and employment law. A former assistant attorney general of New Hampshire under former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, and former law clerk to Chief Judge Collins Seitz, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, he commenced practice in the Philadelphia area with Pepper Hamilton, where his work included products liability defense for major drug manufacturers, mass tort claims and construction defect litigation. Mr. Sargent is the head of the firm’s Post-Trial and Appellate Advocacy Group. He frequently consults for other law firms, speaks at Bar seminars on preparing briefs and arguments for appeal and was an Adjunct Professor at Villanova Law School for 10 years. He is immediate past chairman of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s (PBA) Amicus Curiae Brief Committee and was vice-chair of the Pennsylvania Appellate Procedural Rules Committee and has served as expert witness on appellate practice. He also served as vice-chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Appellate Advocacy Committee. Mr. Sargent is admitted to practice before the Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, the U.S. Court of Claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First, Third and Fourth Circuits.  He earned his B.A. in architecture from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a member of the Managing Board of the Law Review.

Robert Byer Esq.

Mr. Byer is the founder and former head of the appellate practice division at Duane Morris LLP, where he is resident in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh offices. He concentrates his practice in appellate and legal issues litigation. Mr. Byer is a former judge of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline. He has argued or briefed approximately 300 appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh, District of Columbia and Federal Circuits, and the appellate courts of Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, Tennessee and Washington. Mr. Byer has also briefed and worked on appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court. His appellate work covers a wide range of legal areas, including corporate governance, real property, intellectual property, administrative agency law, environmental law, taxation, constitutional law, insurance coverage, contracts, professional liability, product liability and toxic torts. Before choosing to concentrate his practice in appellate and legal issues litigation, Mr. Byer was an active trial lawyer for over 12 years, focusing on complex commercial and intellectual property litigation. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a Life Member of the American Law Institute, a former member of the Lawyers Advisory Committee of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and a founding member of the Third Circuit Bar Association. Mr. Byer served six terms as a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee, and he chaired that committee for five years. He served two terms as Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Civil Litigation Section and served for 12 years in the House of Delegates. Mr. Byer is a former adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University School of Law, where he taught Pennsylvania Civil Procedure. He has also served on the faculty of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, where he taught courses on judicial review of administrative agency adjudications. Mr. Byer is recognized in Chambers USA (Pennsylvania, Litigation:  Appellate, Band 1); Best Lawyers in America (Appellate; Bet the Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation) and Pennsylvania Super Lawyers (Appellate).  He is the author of a treatise on Pennsylvania civil practice and numerous published articles, monographs and course materials on various legal topics. Mr. Byer is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (J.D., 1977; editor, University of Pittsburgh Law Review; B.A., magna cum laude, 1973). He engaged in postgraduate studies at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University. 

Kim Watterson Esq.

Kim M. Watterson is a partner at Reed Smith LLP and is resident in the firm’s Pittsburgh and Los Angeles offices. She is the chair of the firm’s Appellate Group and a fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Kim represents clients in both trial and appellate courts.  As for her appellate work, she handles appeals, writs, and post-trial motions for clients in state and federal courts around the country. She has successfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, several federal appellate courts, and the Pennsylvania and Texas Supreme Courts, to grant discretionary review.  Kim recently secured immediate appellate review of class certification orders and ultimately reversal of the orders, and also secured interlocutory appellate review of legal rulings on motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment. She has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits, and the state appellate courts in California, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. She is the principal author of briefs submitted to each of those courts, as well as virtually every other federal circuit court of appeals and other state appellate courts, including those in Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.  She was lead appellate counsel on several significant cases heard by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, including several appeals involving managed care, media law, and product liability issues. In addition to her work as an appellate advocate, Kim serves clients as a litigator and trial lawyer representing clients in a variety of complex commercial cases. She is one of the lead lawyers representing a defendant in the nationwide opioid litigation, and was one of the lead trial counsel in a recent six-month trial.  On that trial, as well as another three-month trial and the other cases nationwide, she has led all of the pre-trial, post-trial, and appellate briefing.  That pre-trial briefing includes dispositive motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, motions in limine, motions relating to experts, jury instructions and the like. Kim calls on her trial court experience as she regularly represents clients in appeals after trials. Kim’s experience encompasses a wide range of substantive issues, including those impacting the pharmaceutical, financial services, energy, and managed care industries, as well as colleges and universities.  She also has represented clients in matters involving questions of constitutional law (including cases raising First Amendment, Commerce Clause, and Due Process issues), the Federal Arbitration Act (including the arbitrability of class action and class arbitration waivers), and complex jurisdictional disputes. Kim has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2008.  She received her J.D., summa cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was ranked first in her class. She also holds an M.A. in Political Science as well as a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

Victor Stabile

The Honorable Victor P. Stabile was elected as a judge to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in 2013. Prior to his election, he had over thirty years of broad legal experience. Judge Stabile is a 1982 graduate of the Dickinson School of Law and was a member of its Law Review. Upon graduation, he served as an appellate judicial clerk in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. After completion of his clerkship, Judge Stabile was appointed a Deputy Attorney General in a trial division of the Office of Attorney General where he litigated cases in defense of Commonwealth agencies in many of the commonwealth’s trial and appellate courts. He also served as the acting chief of this state-wide trial division and successfully argued and litigated now precedential case law in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In 1987, Judge Stabile joined the law firm of Dilworth Paxson LLP, and was a partner and the managing member of its Harrisburg office from 1992 until his election to the Superior Court. His practice at Dilworth principally involved complex commercial and business litigation. He practiced before all state and federal courts in Pennsylvania and is a member of the United States Supreme Court and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Bars. A substantial amount of Judge Stabile’s time also had been devoted to public service in his community and to pro bono legal work. Judge Stabile also served as the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Middlesex Township, Cumberland County. He was active in community planning and was a founding member of the Cumberland County Task Force on Regional Development. He currently serves as a member of the Supreme Court’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Board, was a former member of the Judicial Education Board, and in both positions was a principal drafter of the rules governing those bodies. Judge Stabile also is an elected member of the American Law Institute. He has been married for over forty years, has two children, and resides with his family in Carlisle, PA.

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