Litigation and Advocacy Track
Appellate Advocacy Section
Session A: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
About the Program
This will be a two-part program. The first part will be a mock oral argument by two experienced appellate practitioners before a panel of current and former appellate judges involving a case with issues of final judgment, standards of review, and preservation of the record for appeal. The second part will be a discussion by the judges as to the aforementioned issues in the mock case; the performance of the attorneys; and general observations regarding final judgment, standards of review, and preservation of the record for appeal.
You Will Learn
- Basic principles of final judgment, preservation of the record, and standards of review on appeal
- How to identify and address issues of final judgment, preservation of the record, and standards of review on appeal
- How to conduct an effective appellate oral argument
Jessie Opinion, Connecticut Supreme and Appellate Courts, Hartford
Hon. Alexandra D. DiPentima, Connecticut Appellate Court, Hartford
Judge Alexandra Davis DiPentima was born in Sharon, Connecticut and raised in Kent, Connecticut. She was graduated from Princeton University, receiving an A.B. in intellectual history in 1975. From 1976 to 1979, she attended the University of Connecticut School of Law and was graduated in 1979.
Since her appointment to the bench, Judge DiPentima’s assignments have included presiding judge of the Hartford and New Britain Housing Divisions, presiding judge in Meriden and, from 1998 to 2003, Administrative Judge of the Judicial District of Litchfield. She has served on the Rules Committee of the Superior Court and the Judicial Education Committee, and is currently co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules. From 2001 to 2002, she served as president of the Connecticut Judges Association. In 2010, Judge DiPentima received the Connecticut Bar Association’s Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award. In 2011, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Connecticut School of Law Alumni Association. In January of 2012, Judge DiPentima became an Adjunct Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law.
In June of 2007, Chief Justice Rogers appointed her to serve as chair of the newly-formed Public Service and Trust Commission, which created a five-year strategic plan for the Judicial Branch. She continues to oversee the implementation of the Judicial Branch’s strategic plan. From 2012 to 2016, Judge DiPentima served on the Executive Committee for the national organization Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal, and continues to be active in that organization.
Hon. Eliot D. Prescott, Connecticut Appellate Court, Hartford
Judge Eliot D. Prescott was born January 21, 1965 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He attended St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island, and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1988. He graduated with high honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1992.
Judge Prescott was appointed to the Superior Court by Governor John G. Rowland in 2004. During his time as a trial judge, Judge Prescott presided over Part A and Part B criminal trials and civil matters in various locations around the State. He also served as the Presiding Judge of the Administrative Appeals and Tax Session of the Superior Court. He served as a member of the Rules Committee of the Superior Court and the Advisory Committee on the Appellate Rules. On numerous occasions, he has served on the faculty of the annual Connecticut Judges’ Institute.
Judge Prescott was appointed to the Appellate Court in 2014 by Governor Dannel P. Malloy.
Hon. Chase T. Rogers (Ret.), Day Pitney LLP, Hartford
Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court Chase Rogers (Ret.), chair of Day Pitney’s Appellate Practice group, brings her vast knowledge and experience as a litigator, trial judge and Chief Justice to assist litigation clients in multiple areas of law. Clients benefit from her 20 years of experience presiding over hundreds of bench and jury trials, including years hearing, mediating and ruling on complex commercial disputes. She has also been a panel member on thousands of appellate cases and the author of hundreds of decisions for the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Rogers’ career in the judiciary has spanned over two decades, starting when she was sworn in as a Connecticut Superior Court judge in January 1998. Her assignments included serving as a judge on the Complex Litigation Docket for four years in Stamford. In March 2006, Chief Justice Rogers was sworn in as an Appellate Court judge and a little over a year later, she was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. Among her many accomplishments, she is credited with restructuring the civil justice system to reduce costs and embedding a culture of openness and transparency in the judicial branch.
Chief Justice Rogers serves on the State Justice Institute’s (SJI) Board of Directors, which she was appointed to by President Barack Obama in December 2010. She is also the chairperson of the national Civil Justice Implementation Steering Committee. She also currently serves on the board of the Center for Human Trafficking Court Solutions (CHTCS), as well as provides consulting services to the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS). In addition, she is an adjunct professor, teaching Connecticut civil procedure, at the University of Connecticut School of Law.
In 2012, Chief Justice Rogers was appointed to the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, where she served until January 2018. She also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Conference of Chief Justices until January 2018.
John Cerreta, a litigator and member of Day Pitney’s Appellate Practice, represents clients in complex tort and product liability cases, insurance coverage disputes and class actions. Clients rely on John to handle their most complex appeals and critical motions. He has briefed and argued numerous appeals in the Second Circuit, and appellate courts in Connecticut and throughout the U.S.
Before joining Day Pitney, John served as a law clerk to Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. of the United States Supreme Court. Prior to that, he was an associate in the New York office of an international law firm. John also clerked for then-Judge Alito and Judge Michael A. Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 2005 to 2007.
Thomas J. Donlon, Robinson+Cole, Stamford
Thomas Donlon’s practice focuses on appellate and complex trial matters. He is a member of Robinson and Cole’s Appellate Team within the Business Litigation Group.
Tom has successfully prepared briefs and presented arguments in various federal Courts of Appeals as well as state appellate courts in both Connecticut and New York. These appeals have involved multimillion-dollar cases covering diverse topics, including health care fraud, securities, anti-trust, bankruptcy, employment, insurance, contract and construction disputes, condemnation, land use, and environmental regulation. Tom appears regularly before the Second Circuit, where he won a precedent-setting case limiting state immunity in bankruptcy cases. He also has handled cases before the Third, Ninth and Federal Circuits.
Tom is also involved in all aspects of complex litigation in trial courts, with a concentration on motion practice, particularly complex dispositive motions requiring the briefing of challenging legal issues. Working with other members of the firm’s litigation group, his cases have run the gamut of civil litigation, including the representation of one of America’s largest corporations in an international contract dispute, the defense of insurance companies against bad faith claims, the enforcement of arbitration agreements against class action attack, defense of Native American corporations, disputes over major government construction contracts, and enforcement of penalties and attorney’s fees in bankruptcy.
Tom was an attorney on active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard for over 20 years before coming to the firm. He served as the senior government appellate counsel, responsible for all Coast Guard appeals nationwide, and represented the Coast Guard in the first military case directly appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served an assignment with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, litigating Coast Guard cases in federal district courts and Courts of Appeal. In his last Coast Guard assignment, Tom served as a legal advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
CLE Credit: 2.0 Hours (CT: 2.0 General; NY: 2.0 Skills)