The legal life of a case does not necessarily end because of a particular decision or when a verdict is reached at the trial court level. This means that if you have received an outcome from a trial court or administrative agency that you feel is wrong, you have the option to appeal. As the client, you have the power to consult with an attorney to determine whether an appeal is in your best interest and the likelihood of success on appeal. During the appeals process, sometimes, clients prefer to stay with the same lawyer or team of lawyers that worked on the particular litigation issue during trial. Other times, however, new counsel is sought that can bring a new perspective and focus to the appeal.
Things to Keep in Mind
- An attorney with strong experiences in legal writing, research ability, and oral advocacy is vital. This is because the main arguments that the appeal is based on have to be well researched and eloquently presented to the appellate courts in the form of a comprehensive written document called a "brief". Despite the name, these briefs are anything but and can be quite voluminous.
- The rules of procedure and practice are different in the appellate courts from the inferior courts and administrative agencies. It is extremely important to work with an attorney who is familiar with the rules and comfortable to practice in the appellate forum.
- Appeals are time consuming. The appellate process can be slow and may seem daunting to go through alone. That is why it is necessary to have a lawyer you can trust that will guide you through the process and keep your advised of developments every step of the way.
- Appellate law is constantly changing and shifting. You will need an attorney that is not afraid to think of creative arguments, to use innovative ideas, and to know the latest decisions made by the courts.
- Never before seen legal questions based on new technologies are constantly appearing. You will want an attorney that not only knows, but also uses the latest technologies to give you a leg-up during the appeal.
- Being able to argue the appeal after submitting a brief is crucial. The right lawyer needs to be articulate and highly knowledgeable of the issues to make an argument in front of an appeals court.