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20 S.C. B. News 1 (2008-2009)

handle is hein.barjournals/socarbn0020 and id is 1 raw text is: 


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                              ww Isbr' r  Octe 20 0 -  1.:  0 , N o.

Court of Appeals implements new case

processing system

Within the past few years, the Court
of Appeals' book of business has
increased significantly.
  The court's docket has swelled to include
direct appeals from the Administrative Law
Court, direct appeals in workers' compensa-
tion cases, and petitions for writ of certio-
rari from post-conviction relief hearings.
Because the court is deciding more cases, it
is implementing a new case processing sys-
tem, which will do two things: increase the
number of oral arguments it hears and
reduce the number of lengthy, unpublished
opinions it issues.
  The court's long-standing practice has
been to hear oral arguments during one
week every month. Beginning in October,
the court will have two weeks of oral argu-
ments, hearing between 27 and 38 argu-
ments each month.

  The court's expanded docket not only
warrants additional days of oral argument,
but also requires the court to change the
way it reviews cases and issues opinions. In
the past, the authoring judge of every case
discussed the appeal with a staff attorney or
law clerk, who then prepared a draft opin-
ion. This draft opinion was circulated to the
other panel members prior to the judges'
conference on the case. If the other two
panel members agreed with the authoring
judge's proposed resolution, the draft opin-
ion was converted into the final opinion.
The result: even if the panel chose not to
publish the opinion, a full-blown analysis of
the case was issued. This created a shadow
docket practitioners could access on the
Internet but could not cite as precedent.
  Effective September 2008, staff attorneys
and law clerks no longer prepare draft opin-

ions, but prepare bench memoranda instead.
These memoranda are less formal than draft
opinions and serve to expedite the judges'
decision by providing an objective recita-
tion of the facts, issues on appeal and appli-
cable law. If the judges decide to issue an
unpublished opinion, they will do so in a
short and summary fashion, often pursuant
to Rule 220(b)(1), SCACR. If a lengthier
analysis is required, a published opinion
will be drafted and filed.
  Times, they are a changing, and the
Court of Appeals is changing too. With this
new case processing system, the court feels
confident it can continue to resolve appeals
fairly and efficiently despite its burgeoning

Bar Convention moves to new

venue in 2009
                                      In January, the Bar Convention will offer another
                                      exceptional year's worth of CLE programs, remain-
                                      ing the most economical way to fulfill your entire
                                      CLE requirement while enjoying networking and
                                      fantastic social events.
                                        The Convention's new venue, the Myrtle
                                      Beach Marriott Resort at Grande Dunes, has
                                      more amenities than any other destination in
                                      the Carolinas. It boasts its own 18-hole cham-
                                      pionship golf course, a state of the art fitness
                                      and tennis center and European spa with an
                                                Convention, continued on page 12.


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