Rex Heinke Quoted by Law360 on How to Convince California Supreme Court to Grant Petition for Review

In Law360’s article “5 Ways To Sway Calif.’s High Court To Snap Up Your Case,” Akin Gump Supreme Court and appellate practice co-head Rex Heinke discusses strategies for attorneys to use to convince the California Supreme Court to grant a petition for review.

On identifying conflicts among the lower courts and issues of importance, Heinke said, “If the case does not involve an important issue, but there’s a conflict, the court might think it’s not worth the time to sort out the conflict. For cases that raise an important issue but don’t have a conflict, the California Supreme Court may see no need in granting review and might want to see how the courts of appeal come out on the issue first.”

He added that a common mistake is filing a petition for review that leans heavily on the errors made by a lower court rather than the reasons the high court should review the case, saying, “The California Supreme Court is not there to fix every wrong decision by the court of appeal; it’s there to establish uniformity in the law and to answer important questions. That’s what attorneys need to focus on.”

Heinke noted that the Court is more likely to grant a petition for review if the case has the potential to affect large groups of people or organizations outside of the litigants: “The parties in a case invariably think the case is important and should be taken up, but the court is interested in whether a decision in this case would affect others, how many and in what way. The more a case could affect a large number of people and organizations, the more likely the court will take it.”

He also recommended that if a client is likely to file a petition for review, attorneys should ascertain whether any groups, such as trade organizations, are interested in backing the petition and contact them as soon as possible because the group will likely need to “talk to its members and its committee or board of directors about approving a filing of an amicus brief. These briefs can help a petition a lot by showing the importance of a case.”

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