Winning on Appeal with Kurtis Wilder
Episode 710th August 2021 • The Litigation War Room • Maxwell Goss
00:00:00 00:39:08

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On this episode, Maxwell Goss interviews Kurtis Wilder, a former justice of the Michigan Supreme Court who now practices law at the Detroit firm Butzel Long. Justice Wilder talks about his interesting career as a jurist – first as a trial judge, then appellate judge, and finally a supreme court justice. He also discusses a very interesting appeal involving the law of wills and trusts and the rules of professional conduct. Throughout the conversation, Justice Wilder provides valuable insights on the art of appellate advocacy.


“The appellate panel is thinking about how to place the facts of this case within

the context of all the other cases that deal with similar issues of law.

And what they’re thinking about is the fabric of the law.”

-Kurtis Wilder


  • 00:18 – Introduction
  • 01:04 – About Kurtis Wilder
  • 04:15 – Mediations and COVID-19
  • 08:52 – Trial experience and the appellate judge
  • 15:23 – Papazian v. Goldberg (In re Mardigian Estate)
  • 22:28 – Wills and trusts versus contracts
  • 27:50 – The role of the legislature
  • 29:41 – Tips for effective appellate advocacy
  • 34:40 – Judicial perspective on private practice


Former Justice Kurtis T. Wilder is a shareholder of Butzel Long. He concentrates his practice in litigation and appeals. Justice Wilder was appointed by Governor John Engler as judge of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court in March 1992. In December 1998 Governor Engler elevated Justice Wilder to the Michigan First District Court of Appeals where he served four terms from 1998-2017. On May 9, 2017, Governor Snyder appointed Justice Wilder to the Michigan Supreme Court. Justice Wilder graduated from the University of Michigan with an A.B. degree in Political Science in 1981, and from the University of Michigan Law School with a Juris Doctor degree in 1984.


About Kurtis Wilder

In re Mardigian


The Litigation War Room is hosted by litigation lawyer Maxwell Goss. Max represents clients in intellectual property and business cases throughout Michigan and around the country, bringing forceful advocacy and creative solutions to every case he handles.


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