Fighting for justice in criminal, juvenile, and civil commitment appeals.

Brief-Writing Lessons From the January 6 Committee Hearings

The first three public hearings of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol provide some helpful lessons for clarity and persuasion in presenting a complicated story.

By J. Bradley O’Connell


Panel Alerts

June 28, 2022

Panel Attorney Hourly Rate Increased, Effective July 1, 2022

We are very pleased to report that the final state budget for fiscal year 2022-23 includes an increase of $15/hour… more

June 23, 2022

Tools for Addressing Delayed Records on Appeal

In many Contra Costa County felony cases, records on appeal are delayed or late. This is also true for some cases… more


First District Panel Victories

June 29, 2022

A162198, A162415, A163649

Panel Attorney: Neale Gold Carol Koenig

In this appeal from the termination of parental rights, the Department conceded the Department and juvenile court failed to fulfill its duty to conduct an adequate inquiry under the ICWA. There was a reason to believe the children might be Indian which triggered the duty of further inquiry. The Court determined conditional reversal, not conditional affirmance, was appropriate.


Mat Zwerling – in memoriam

Matthew (Mat) Zwerling, co-founder of the First District Appellate Project (FDAP) and Executive Director for many years, passed away on March 24, 2022, after a long illness. We are saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, and take this time to reflect on Mat’s life and the difference he made in the lives of so many. Mat was a mensch, a mentor, an activist, and a man of many and varied interests and talents.

Please visit our remembrance page and join us in celebrating Mat's life

Pathways to an Appellate Practice

Interested in becoming an appellate attorney? Visit our Pathways to an Appellate Practice section for details on

  • becoming a panel attorney;
  • FDAP’s Associate Staff Attorney Program; and
  • law student opportunities.