2021 Summit

November 11 – 14, 2021, Austin, TX

Register now for the 2021 AJEI Summit, the nation’s premier appellate educational event, to be held this year in Austin, Texas! Typically attended by almost 400 appellate judges and practitioners, the Summit will feature 20+ panel discussions on emerging trends, challenges, and legal issues affecting appellate practitioners and the judiciary. Confirmed panelists to date and session topics are noted below with more announcements to come.

AJEI Summit Update: We are a go for Austin, TX!

In less than 30 days, AJEI will present an outstanding lineup of programs to boost your appellate advocacy IQ. And what a lineup it is! The four-day schedule boasts a varied menu of new and innovative topics, but one tradition remains: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky will once again hold us in rapt attention with a 2 ½-hour update of the Supreme Court’s civil and criminal docket.

The Dean’s tour-de-force is just one of the many programming highlights set for Austin! The full schedule can be found here.

In addition to Thursday evening’s opening reception at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Summit will host several Friday afternoon tours and activities, including (1) morning yoga and meditation led by Justice Patricia Alvarez; (2) a moderated discussion of Dr. Robert Livingston’s book, “The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations”; (3) docent-led tours of the Supreme Court of Texas and the state Capitol; (4) group tours of the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Zilker Botanical Garden; and (5) a catered lunch cruise on Lady Bird Lake, conveniently located right outside our host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Austin. And, of course, Friday evening will include the always popular Council of Appellate Lawyers-sponsored dine-arounds. Be on the lookout for sign-up sheets for these events!

On Saturday morning, you can burn off your Friday dinner with a Fun Run/Walk led by our very own Justice Steven David of the Indiana Supreme Court. Our Saturday evening reception and banquet will feature a performance by The Lehman High School Mariachi, a nationally acclaimed group of young musicians. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justice Brett Busby, both talented musicians, will also perform. And to cap off the banquet, El Tule, a Latin-themed ensemble, will get the party started!

As we have emphasized in earlier messages, Summit planners are committed to the safety and well-being of our attendees. As an added safety measure, we plan to set aside “mask only” tables in the Zilker ballroom.   

Thank you for your patience and good will as we work to provide a safe and enjoyable Summit for all. We look forward to seeing you in Austin!

The Summit is organized by the National Judicial College and the Appellate Judges Education Institute, with participation of the American Bar Association Judicial Division’s Appellate Judges Conference, Council of Appellate Lawyers, and Council of Appellate Staff Attorneys.

  • Courage: The Seminal Virtue in Advocacy and Judging
  • Page-turners: How Judges Read in an E-filing Era
  • Top Tips for Top-Notch Oral Argument Answers
  • Managing Stress and Strengthening Resiliency: Practical Strategies for Judges and Lawyers
  • The Ethics of Building and Growing an Appellate Practice
  • Supreme Court Preview
  • Clients in the Courtroom: How In-House Counsel View Appeals & Appellate Courts
  • Hidden Cause, Visible Effect:  Understanding the Supreme Court’s Shadow Docket
  • Writing from the Reader’s Perspective: How the English Language Really Works
  • Legal Ethics 2.0:  How Emerging Technologies Are Creating Novel Ethical Dilemmas
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, How Do We Dismantle Our Bias After All?
  • United States Supreme Court Civil Update
  • Storytelling for Advocates and Judges: How and Why We Should Incorporate Storytelling Techniques and Themes into our Work
  • War Crimes – From the Battlefield to the Courtroom
  • Preventing Wrongful Convictions by Ensuring the Reliability of Forensic Evidence
  • Certified Check or Erie Guess?
  • Canons of Construction: What is Their Role, if Any, in Modern Jurisprudence?
  • What Do Courts Do When Works of Faith Cross Works of Government

  • Hon. Benes Z. Aldana (Ret.), President, The National Judicial College, Reno, NV
  • Hon. Jimmy Blacklock, Supreme Court of Texas, Austin, TX
  • Jay L.T. Breakstone, Appellate Counsel, Parker Waichman LLP, Port Washington, NY
  • Beth S. Brinkmann, Partner, Covington & Burling, LLP, Washington, DC
  • Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, Professor, Constitutional Law, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Hon. J. Brett Busby, Supreme Court of Texas, Austin, TX
  • Hon. Consuelo Maria Callahan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Sacramento, CA
  • Joshua B. Carpenter, Appellate Chief, Federal Public Defender, Western District of North Carolina, Asheville, NC
  • Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
  • Kenneth D. Chestek, Professor of Law, University of Wyoming
  • Hon. Elizabeth T. Clement, Michigan Supreme Court, Lansing, MI
  • Steven T. Collis, Professor of Law and Director of the Law and Religion Clinic, University of Texas
  • Bennett Evan Cooper, Dickinson Wright PLLC, Phoenix, AZ
  • Don Cruse, Law Office of Don Cruse, Austin, TX
  • Hon. Steven H. David, Indiana Supreme Court, Indianapolis, IN
  • Hon. Albert Diaz, U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • Hon. David W. Ellis, Justice, Illinois Appellate Court, First District, 3rd Division
  • John P. Elwood, Partner, Arnold & Porter, LLP, Washington, DC
  • Hon. Roy Ferguson, 394th Judicial District Court, TX
  • Matt Fitzgerald, Partner, McGuireWoods, LLP, Richmond, VA
  • Hon. Jeremy D. Fogel (ret.), Executive Director, Berkeley Judicial Institute, Berkeley, CA
  • Lynn Garcia, General Counsel, Texas Forensic Science Commission, Austin, Texas
  • George D. Gopen, J.D., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of the Practice of Rhetoric, Duke University
  • Hon. James Earl Graves Jr., Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • Hon. Phyllis Hamilton, United States District Judge, Northern District of California, Oakland, CA
  • Hon. Pamela Harris, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Richmond, VA
  • Hon. Nathan Hecht, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Texas, Austin, TX
  • D. Alicia Hickok, Partner and Co-Chair of the Appellate Team, Faegre Drinker
  • Allyson N. Ho, Co-Chair of the Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Group, Gibson Dunn LLP, Dallas, TX
  • Hon. Diane M. Johnsen (ret.), Former Judge, Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One
  • Hon. Maureen Lally-Green (ret.), former Judge, Pennsylvania Superior Court, Professor Emerita, School of Law, Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Matthew Nis Leerberg, Partner, Fox Rothschild LLP, Raleigh, NC
  • Hon. David B. Lewis, Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Robert A. Mandel, Partner, Zuber Lawler LLP, Phoenix, AZ
  • Gary E. Marchant, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Law, Arizona State University College of Law, Tempe, AZ
  • Terry A. Maroney, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School, Nashville, TN
  • Hon. Bridget Mary McCormack, Chief Justice, Michigan Supreme Court
  • Raffi Melkonian, Partner, Wright Close & Barger LLP
  • Hon. Elizabeth Lang Miers (ret.), Partner, Locke Lord LLP, Dallas, TX
  • Katrina Lee, Clinical Professor of Law, Moritz College of Law, Columbus, OH
  • Melissa Mills, Assistant United States Attorney, Terrorism and Export Crimes Section
  • Richard D. Rosen, Glenn D. West Endowed Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law, Lubbock, TX
  • Jaime A. Santos, Partner, Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation, Goodwin Procter LLP
  • Hon. David Schenck, Texas Fifth Court of Appeals, Dallas, TX
  • Eric J. Segall, Ashe Family Chair Professor of Law, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
  • Kannon K. Shanmugam, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
  • Hon. John E. Sparks, United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, Washington, DC
  • Jason P. Steed, Counsel, Kilpatrick Townsend LLP, Dallas, TX
  • M.C. Sungaila, Chair of the Appellate Practice Group, Buchalter, Orange County, CA
  • Hon. Marsha Ternus (ret.), former Chief Justice, Iowa Supreme Court, Des Moines, IA
  • Hon. Samuel A. Thumma, Arizona Court of Appeals, Phoenix, AZ
  • Stephen I. Vladeck, Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law
  • Hon. Martha C. Warner, Fourth District Court of Appeal, West Palm Beach, FL
  • Hon. Beth Watkins, Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals, San Antonio, TX
  • Jill M. Wheaton, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Russell Wilson, Law Office of Russell Wilson II, Dallas, TX

Dress code:

Business / business casual during the day. For the Thursday reception and Saturday dinner, the dress code is business or cocktail attire.