Interviews Rex Heinke on Eve of His 151st Appellate Argument

In its new column Critical Mass, has profiled Akin Gump Supreme Court and appellate practice co-head Rex Heinke on the occasion of the 151st appellate argument of his career. Heinke, as the article notes, was set to argue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in a class action against VCA Animal Hospitals.

Drawing on observations from throughout his career, Heinke shared his thoughts on the most prevalent appellate arguments that arise in class actions. He noted that arbitration, attorney fees and standing in cybersecurity cases all come up, along with the issue of how rigorously a judge needs to follow the guidelines of Federal Rule 23 of Civil Procedure. Regarding that last point, Heinke states “That whole area has changed radically.”.

Having argued his first appeal in 1980, Heinke had some advice for those making their first appellate arguments. He said it’s important to be prepared to answer the judges’ questions, “especially the ones that probe your weaknesses. There aren’t many appeals we have where there isn’t something to be said for the other side. And you can pretty much count on appellate judges and justices to be well prepared and smart and ask you hard questions pretty much from the outset.”