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Attorneys Michael Cohen and Joseph Sarmiento Recognized for Outstanding Appellate Brief in State Bar of Wisconsin Competition

December 21, 2016

The State Bar or Wisconsin's Appellate Practice Section organized its first-ever "Best Briefs" competition this year, to identify excellent briefs that can serve as models for appellate attorneys. Wisconsin lawyers, judges and justices, court staff, and others were welcomed to submit any opening or appellee brief that was filed in an appellate case resolved in 2015.

Attorneys Michael Cohen and Joseph Sarmiento’s brief, Wisconsin Supreme Court in Acuity v. Chartis Specialty Insurance Co., was selected as a “Best Brief.” Three retired jurists (Justice Janine Geske and Judges Thomas Cane and Margaret Vergeront) chose four winning briefs from dozens of nominations. All briefs were judged on clarity of writing, depth of analysis, and persuasiveness. 

The Appellate Practice Section will be hosting an awards ceremony to honor the winners on October 28, 2016, at the Brocach Irish Pub in Madison, on the Capitol Square.

Attorneys Cohen and Sarmiento dedicate a substantial portion of their practice to representing insurance companies in insurance coverage litigation and can be reached at and, or by calling (414) 273-1300.


The State Bar of Wisconsin recently congratulated the winners of the State Bar of Wisconsin Appellate Practice Section’s first-ever Best Briefs competition which included Michael Cohen and Joseph Sarmiento's Appellant’s brief filed in the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Acuity v. Chartis Specialty Insurance Company, an insurance coverage case.

The four winning briefs had the following characteristics in common:

  1. They use the “Issues Presented” section to their advantage.

  2. They employ simple, clear, succinct language.

  3. They don’t rely on boilerplate and string cites; they weave the language of precedent into their own legal analysis.

  4. They make subheadings work for them to keep the argument moving, and they give their readers clear roadmaps.

The Next Competition" Coming in 2018

The State Bar of Wisconsin's next competition will involve briefs filed in cases resolved between March 31, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2017. Section members will find the nomination form on the section’s webpage for people to nominate briefs on an ongoing basis.

State Bar of Wisconsin InsideTrack Article: What Makes a Stellar Appellate Brief? Find Out from 'Best Briefs' Competition Winners