CAFL Appellate Panel Certification Requirements

Training Requirements:

Attorneys who wish to be certified to accept assignments for appeals of CAFL cases must be approved for training and meet the requirements set forth below. Applicants who are accepted to the training must complete a 3-day training program.  The training program is usually held each year in the spring.  Please visit CAFL Training for information on upcoming training opportunities.

Appointment Requirements:

To maintain certification, attorneys must accept at least one CAFL appellate appointment within one year of the certification training.  Thereafter, attorneys must accept at least one CAFL appellate appointment every three fiscal years.  Attorneys who do not satisfy these requirements may be removed from the panel at the discretion of the CAFL Director of Appeals.

Minimum Qualifications:

Applicants must have the following minimum qualifications:

(i)   Demonstrated proficiency in legal research and writing; and

(ii)  At least one of the following:

  • Two years of child welfare trial experience;
  • Primary authorship of two or more appellate briefs in other subjects;
  • A recent appellate clerkship, substantial editing experience for a law journal, or publication of a law journal article, or other substantial research and writing experience.

Admission into the training is competitive and not all applicants will be admitted.

Application Procedure:

Applicants must send in a completed application, a resume, two legal writing samples, and two references from individuals who have knowledge of the applicant’s qualifications, character, integrity, thoroughness and research and writing abilities.

Appellate Panel Certification Training Application

Provisional Certification:

Attorneys who are accepted for certification and successfully complete the training program are provisionally certified through the filing of at least their first three appellate briefs and oral arguments. For each appellate assignment, the provisionally certified attorney must work with a mentor who will review transcripts to identify appellate issues and research strategy, edit drafts of briefs prior to submission, authorize the filing of the brief, help the provisionally certified attorney prepare for oral argument and for other issues related to the appeal.

The mentor will report to CAFL regarding the work of the provisionally-certified attorney. The CAFL Director of Appeals will determine whether the provisionally certified attorney (a) may be certified and permitted to take additional appellate assignments without supervision of a mentor, (b) may be permitted to take one or two additional assignments with continued mentor supervision or (c) may not be certified and may not take additional appellate assignments.

Performance Requirements:

By accepting assignments for children and family law appeals attorneys must abide by the CPCS Performance Standards Governing the Representation of Clients in Child Welfare Appeals.  Attorneys must submit a PDF copy of all briefs filed to CAFL, or if the case is closed before briefing, must notify CAFL of the reason the appellate assignment closed.