5247097960_3c2361c8ed_zIn our last several posts, we’ve been following the Supreme Court’s evolving interests over the past fifteen years, charting the areas of law considered by the Court in its civil docket.

Now we turn to a somewhat different question. It has long been part of the conventional wisdom in the appellate bar that a dissent at the Appellate Court helps considerably in getting the Court’s attention for a petition for leave to appeal.

But is it true?

We approach the question in two steps. Because a large portion of the Illinois Appellate Court’s mandatory docket is highly determinate as a legal matter, with the result a largely foregone conclusion based upon established precedent, the Appellate Court issues published opinions in only a small fraction of its cases. Nevertheless, although published opinions arise from the more legally debatable questions, dissent is relatively uncommon in most Districts:


Not surprisingly, with the exception of the Third District, dissent in cases decided by non-precedential Rule 23 orders is exceeding rare:


Tomorrow morning, we’ll turn to the data itself and answer the question – how important are dissents at the Appellate Court in getting a PLA granted?

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jon Collier (no changes).


[1]           Data reported is dissenting opinions as a fraction of total written opinions. Data is from the Statistical Report of the Illinois Courts, 2001-2012.