A valuable guide, by an insider, into our nation's most important legal institutions.




Federal appellate judge Coffin (The Ways of a Judge, 1980, etc.) takes the reader on an erudite, informative and witty tour of American appellate courts, those courts that review the legal decisions of trial courts and give litigants a second chance at justice.

Coffin is judge on the United States Court of Appeals, which makes most authoritative decisions on federal legal issues (the U.S. Supreme Court, the only high court in the federal system, hears only a relative handful of cases each year). He does not limit his treatment to this important court, however, but examines the appellate process in both the federal and state systems. After presenting the historical background and present characteristics of the often sharply contrasting English common law and European civil law models, Coffin lays out at length the distinctive elements of American appellate practice. He contrasts the federal and state appellate systems, pointing out both the dominance of state appellate courts (they make 85 to 90 percent of all appellate decisions in this country, he concludes) and the problems that dog them (underfunding, for instance). Insightfully and often humorously, the author treats virtually every other aspect of appellate advocacy and judgeship: the judge's "chambers family,'' including relationships with clerks; the development of an adequate record for appeal; the submission and reading of briefs; the preparation and presentation of oral arguments; the judges' conference, at which the merits of the case are discussed; and the drafting of opinions by the judges. Coffin offers his own thinking on judging appeals and offers suggestions, such as instituting alternative forums for dispute resolution that are aimed at preserving the central role of the appellate court in our rapidly changing society and legal culture.

A valuable guide, by an insider, into our nation's most important legal institutions.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 1994

ISBN: 0-393-03582-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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