Thursday, December 8, 2022 - 04:00
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Appellate Series Session 3: Tips and Strategies for Approaching, Preparing and Writing an Opening Brief

Time: 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM (EST)

Writing an appellate brief can be a daunting task.  In this webinar, we will address how to break down the brief into more manageable pieces and approach each piece of the brief as an opportunity for zealous advocacy.  You will learn how to review the record with an eye toward appealable issues, how to take notes to focus potential challenges, and how to research potential issues effectively.  Each section of a federal appellate brief will be addressed and we will review the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure applicable to an opening brief.  Participants will receive instruction on writing with purpose, developing themes, structuring arguments, and effective editing.


Johanna M. Christiansen is an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Central District of Illinois.  She has been with the office since 2001, primarily working as an appellate attorney and Appellate Division Chief.  In addition to representing her clients in the Seventh Circuit, Ms. Christiansen writes the Case Law Update for her office which summarizes recently developments in criminal law in the Seventh Circuit and United States Supreme Court.  She authors several publications for the office including the "Handbook for Criminal Appeals in the Seventh Circuit."  She also teaches Advanced Appellate Advocacy as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois College of Law.  Prior to obtaining her position with the Federal Public Defender, she served as an appellate law clerk to the late Honorable Daryl L. Hecht of the Iowa Court of Appeals (later of the Iowa Supreme Court.)  Ms. Christiansen received her J.D. from Drake University School of Law and her B.A. from St. Olaf College.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE) accreditation for this program will be sought in all applicable jurisdictions. Additional CLE information will be available after the conclusion of this program.