No one would try a complex or difficult case without retaining a trial lawyer whose courtroom skills provide the maximum opportunity for a favorable result. The same logic applies to complex or difficult appeals. The chances for a favorable outcome are maximized by retaining a lawyer who specializes in appellate practice. Appeals are different from trials. The record is fixed, and appellate judges are not trial judges, juries, or triers of fact.
Trial court arguments cannot necessarily be replayed during an appeal because of appellate standards of review and what appellate judges look for in written briefs and oral advocacy. A lawyer who regularly practices in appellate courts will better navigate the appellate rules, select the right issues and arguments to advance, write a brief that focuses on what matters to the judicial audience, and craft an oral argument that meets the judges’ needs. Appellate specialists understand the mindset of what an appellate judge is looking for in an appeal — which can enhance their client’s chance of winning.
Because of their specialized experience, Appellate Lawyers can often be of considerable help before and during a trial to ensure the case is in the best posture for a client if an appeal is taken. They can also assist with post-judgment strategies, including security for judgments, and provide advice on whether an appeal should be taken. If a case needs to be mediated or settled pending an appeal, an experienced appellate lawyer can assist in evaluating the odds of winning or losing.