North Carolina Summer Appellate Seminar

A remote learning experience for law students interested in North Carolina appellate practice.

This five-week seminar, from June 27 to July 29, 2022, consisted of online video modules and small group learning sessions conducted remotely through Webex. The program is run by Justice Richard Dietz and Justice Phil Berger, Jr. of the Supreme Court, with guest appearances from other appellate judges.

The seminar is a revised version of a program first offered during the summer of 2020 to replace internships and other summer learning experiences that were canceled due to the pandemic. After receiving feedback from students, faculty, and practicing attorneys about the benefits of the program, the appellate courts created a permanent program that will be offered every other summer.

The course is offered at no cost to law students interested in practicing in the North Carolina appellate courts.

The seminar courses have two formats: (1) video lectures and (2) small group remote meetings. The small group sessions give students the option to discuss hypothetical problems or case studies with the judges through video or audio. Small group meetings are limited to 15 students per session to ensure all students have an opportunity to participate in the discussion.

Some small group sessions involve hypothetical problems, case studies, or other materials that should be reviewed in advance. A link to these materials is included in the schedule below. Participants will receive an email reminder before each class with links to the relevant course materials.

Law students who complete the full seminar receive a certificate acknowledging their participation and successful completion of the program. 

Seminar registration has ended.

Lecture 1
Introduction and overview of appellate practice and procedure

Small group sessions 1
Understanding the fundamentals of jurisdiction, standards of review, and issue preservation (Justice Berger, Judge Dillon, Justice Dietz, and Judge Carpenter

Lecture 2
Case study in statutory interpretation

Small group sessions 2
Understanding interpretive theories (Justice Dietz)

Lecture 3
Legal writing style
Lecture 4
Tips for improving legal writing
Small group sessions 3
Internships and clerkships at the appellate courts (Justice Berger, Judge Dillon, and Judge Zachary)
Lecture 5
Oral argument style and strategies
Lecture 6
Differences between trial court and appellate court arguments

Small group sessions 4
Brief Writing and Oral Argument Recap and Ethics in Legal Writing (Judge Dillon, Justice Dietz, and Judge Griffin)

Lecture 7
Emerging issues in appellate practice
Lecture 8
Appeals to a high court (Supreme Court) and discretionary review