Recent Third Circuit Clerk: “Nudging Courts to Issue Decisions Can Pay Off”

You may recall the Third Circuit recent case where top appellate lawyer Roy Englert wrote to the Third Circuit urging them to issue a ruling a pending case. I wrote about the letter here (“sending the court a post-argument hurry-up letter strikes me as a risky move”) and the opinion here.

Albert Lichy has just written this piece in Daily Business Review, headlined, “Nudging Courts to Issue Decisions Can Pay Off.” Lichy was a 2014-15 clerk for Judge Ambro, so his insight is worth paying attention to.

Lichy writes that “the blink response” is that a lawyer can’t tell a judge to pick up the pace, but that the recent case shows how they can:

Is there a lesson to learn? I think so. The first is not to be afraid to nudge a court to action. If it’s been months since your case was argued and the court’s delay is causing serious damage to your client’s business, make the court aware. Or if a substantial amount of time has passed since oral argument and your appeal involved a straightforward issue, send a subtle reminder to the court—cases do fall through the cracks. (Just last August the Seventh Circuit apologized to the parties in one case on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court for putting their papers “in the wrong stack and forgetting” about them.)

If all else fails, take a page from the Taj’s playbook and get a popular blog to discuss your case. It’s no secret judges and law clerks use blogs as a news source. As in any context, however, a little tact goes a long way.

Certainly worth a read.