At the VTLA’s annual meeting earlier this month, Kyle McNew moderated an appellate panel featuring Justice Mann and Judges Malveaux and Ortiz. High-level takeaways:

  • Letting Judge Ortiz respond to a moderator opens the door for some quality shithousing. This probably only works with a quick moderator like Kyle, but more bar associations should try it.
  • Judge Malveaux explained that in the CAV, a substantive motion will be decided by the same panel that ultimately hears your case. That makes sense, but I was never clear how motions practice works.
  • Judge Ortiz said that the amount of time between the end of briefing and oral argument varies by region, but it is typically somewhere between 90 and 150 (or even 180) days.
  • Justice Mann dropped a few gems. First, he said that if courts don’t want to get reversed, they shouldn’t do wonky things. So if you get a wonky opinion from the CAV, ask for a writ. Fair enough. But a few minutes later, he recommended that lawyers arguing before SCOVA pick up a copy of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Law’s of England and nurture a familiarity with English Common Law. Showing up at SCOVA without Blackstone, he said, would be like showing up in trial court without the rules of evidence. This comment alone moved the Overton window for wonkiness in Virginia court. Pray for the CAV.