2012 Legal Elite Profile: APPELLATE LAW
- November 29, 2012
MONICA TAYLOR MONDAY
Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore LLP
Other legal specialties: Representing physicians and health-care providers before the Virginia Department of Health Professions
Birthplace: Framingham, Mass
Education: College of William & Mary, bachelor’s degree; Marshall-Wythe School of Law - College of Wiliam and Mary, law degree
Spouse: Eric H. Monday, Esq.
Children: Helms Taylor Monday, 8
Hobbies: Cooking and gardening
First job as a lawyer: Law clerk to the Hon. Lawrence L. Koontz Jr., chief judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia, in 1991-93
Fan of: Good red wine
Favorite vacation spot: The Outer Banks
Recently read book: “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” by Anthony Bourdain
Career mentor: “Justice Koontz has been a role model to me and has inspired my interest in service to the public and the bar. He displays fairness and kindness to lawyers and litigants and is known for his measured and evenhanded demeanor on the bench. As an appellate jurist, he combines sound legal reasoning with common sense, and his opinions are drafted to guide the bar and lower courts.”
How is appellate law different from other legal specialties?
“Appellate law is the equivalent of forensic medicine. By the time the case reaches an appeal, the facts and evidence are fully established, and the trial is over (essentially ‘dead’). Appellate lawyers dissect the case (‘the dead body’) to find what, if anything, went wrong — to find the error. Thus, while litigators build a case through evidence, appellate lawyers take it apart.”
You have written about things a lawyer should know in handling an appeal. Can you share a few tips?
“Do not waive oral argument. It does matter, and it is your last opportunity to influence the Court. As part of a recent overhaul of Virginia’s appellate rules, the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court now require assignments of error, not questions presented. The failure to comply with the Courts’ rules regarding assignments of error may result in a waiver of a claim of error or, worse, dismissal of the appeal.”