L. Steven Emmert *
Several years ago, the idea of a purely appellate practitioner was almost unheard-of in Virginia, outside government circles. Appellate practice was widely regarded by the practicing bar as a necessary adjunct to trial practice, not as a viable separate field in which to earn a living. Today, the field is experiencing a modest burst of growth. Senior Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy, addressing a symposium sponsored by the Virginia State Bar‘s Appellate Practice Committee in 2009, noted “the rise of an appellate bar” in the Commonwealth and expressed the view that this was a healthy development. By one modern measure, interest in this field of law in Virginia has clearly expanded, as the number of websites devoted to appellate practice—of which there were none as recently as late 2004— continues to grow.
*Partner, Sykes, Bourdon, Ahern & Levy, Virginia Beach, Virginia. J.D., 1982, University of Virginia School of Law; B.A., 1979, Richmond College. The author is the principal publisher of Virginia Appellate News & Analysis, established in 2005 and available at http://www.virginia-appeals.com/.