Effective Reply Briefs in Appellate Practice: Strategic Uses, Best Practices for Drafting

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

1:00pm-2:30pm EST, 10:00am-11:30am PST

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, November 29, 2019

or call 1-800-926-7926

The CLE webinar will provide guidance to appellate lawyers on strategic uses of--and best practices for drafting--reply briefs in appellate practice. The panel will provide insights, explore those best practices, and offer concrete tips for drafting a reply that will win a case before, or without the need for, oral argument.


While rules of court seldom require them, carefully drafted reply briefs can be devastatingly effective. But writing effective reply briefs can be one of the most challenging tasks in appellate practice, given tight deadlines, page or word limitations, and daunting opposition briefs.

Given the declining frequency of oral argument and the increase in judges ruling on the briefs in federal court, a strategic and well-crafted reply brief can often be the last word before a judge decides to rule.

Appellate counsel should be familiar with the nuances, techniques, and best practices for structuring and drafting persuasive and compelling reply briefs, such as identifying the key arguments to attack, strategies for stating the issues persuasively, and presenting the arguments clearly and cogently.

Listen as our authoritative panel of appellate practitioners discusses the strategic uses of, and best practices for, drafting effective reply briefs in appellate courts. The panel will provide strategic insights and offer concrete tips for preparing rock-solid reply briefs.



  1. Weighing the strategic use of reply briefs
  2. Identifying the key arguments to brief
  3. Responding to strong (and weak) opposition arguments
  4. Structuring and presenting the response clearly and concisely
  5. Best practices and case studies


The panel will review these and other relevant issues:

  • Identifying and focusing on the primary goals of the appellate reply brief
  • Restating the issues in a persuasive manner
  • Presenting the written argument clearly and concisely with proven persuasive techniques
  • Honing in on the weaknesses in the opponent's position
  • Rebutting the opponent's strongest arguments
  • Exploiting an opponent's common brief-writing mistakes that weaken their position
  • Leveraging judicial preferences to strengthen your client's position


Cooney, Mark
Mark Cooney

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Prof. Cooney has expertise in legal writing, appellate practice, civil litigation, legal- and medical malpractice,...  |  Read More

Hofmann, Adam
Adam W. Hofmann

Hanson Bridgett

Mr. Hoffman serves as the assistant leader of the firm’s appellate practice group. He represents both public and...  |  Read More

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Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include program handouts. To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

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