Specialized Expertise

Appellate Litigation

Whether you prevailed or lost in the trial court, you should consider appellate options: if nothing else, the other side might appeal, and you should be ready fr that. Further, for the non-prevailing side(s), the timing is usually quick (e.g., typically 30 days in federal court).

There is no one way to handle an appeal. While this is no place for appellate war stories, two situations stand out from Supreme Court oral arguments I watched in cases in which I filed amicus briefs:

• In the first, the petitioners brought in a distinguished member of the Supreme Court bar (i.e., someone who argues regularly before the Court), and his wrong guess on a yes-no question wasted more than half of his 30 minutes of argument time; his co-counsel corrected him back at the counsel table, so he corrected the argument in his rebuttal time, but it showed the danger of abandoning trial counsel for appellate specialists: the latter may not know the full intricacy of the case.

• In the second, the respondent went with their successful counsel from the district court and court of appeals, and he simply did not understand much of the questioning before the Supreme Court. In other words, it showed the danger of using generalists (even if familiar with your case) in the appellate forum.

In truth, it may not have affected the outcome in either case, but it was not pretty in either case.

If you have an interesting or important appellate issue, the Law Office of Lawrence J. Joseph would be pleased to review the issues with you and map out a strategy. While it cannot take every case that comes to it, the firm does not charge for an initial evaluation to discuss the firm’s joining your legal team on appeal.

Contact the firm for more information.