Jim Layton Leads American Academy of Appellate Lawyers Task Force on Remote Oral Argument

May 6, 2020

Appellate advocacy has changed quickly and dramatically since the arrival of COVID-19, with courts across the country using audio and video links to hold oral arguments electronically. This week, even the U.S Supreme Court joined the movement, holding its very first telephone oral arguments””which included questions from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from her hospital room, and an unprecedented number of questions from Justice Clarence Thomas, who is usually quiet during arguments.

Tueth Keeney’s Jim Layton has been appointed to chair a task force of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers looking at best practices for courts and lawyers in conducting oral argument by audio or video. The Academy is a select, national organization of experienced appellate advocates. Upon nomination, the Academy confers with judges and other counsel to ensure that those elected Fellows have demonstrated the highest skill level and integrity. The task force consists of Jim and six other Academy Fellows, from Pennsylvania to the West Coast.

Jim is a veteran of hundreds of appellate oral arguments, including four in the U.S. Supreme Court and nearly 100 in the Missouri Supreme Court. He has presented on remote oral arguments for the National Attorneys General Research and Training Institute. A co-chair of the Appellate Practice Committee of The Missouri Bar, Jim was personally involved with the first experiments with remote argument in the Missouri Court of Appeals.

Appellate Practice ““  Tueth Keeney lawyers have briefed and argued hundreds of appeals, including appeals in all Missouri and Illinois state and federal appellate courts and in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Appellate Practice Group represents clients on a wide range of issues impacting businesses, individuals, government entities, and educational institutions. Tueth Keeney attorneys are also available to contribute their considerable experience (including more than 90 arguments before the Missouri Supreme Court) to appeals handled by others””strategizing, assisting with briefs, and preparing for oral argument.

James Layton leads the firm’s Appellate practice group and is a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Labor, and Education groups. He assists clients with analysis and presentation of complex legal issues in Missouri and federal courts, both trial and appellate. In addition to handling cases himself and with other attorneys at Tueth Keeney, Jim consults with clients on appellate strategy and assists other counsel in high-stakes, complex appeals.

Jim has briefed and argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and before all Missouri appellate courts””including nearly 100 cases before the Missouri Supreme Court. He has represented clients in U.S. district courts and in Missouri circuit courts from Jackson County to the City of St. Louis. He has extensive experience with government-related litigation and state taxation disputes. Jim is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a past president of the Bar Association of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and a past chair of the American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers. He is a frequent speaker in the areas of appellate practice and constitutional law, both state and federal.