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Appeals

appealsAppealing a case means much more than getting another chance at it. It demands a complete rethinking of strategy. It also demands an attorney who can combine advocacy for his client with an objective analysis of the law.

Every appellate attorney must first ask whether there is anything to appeal. Judges may make bad decisions, and often the law requires appellate courts to leave those decisions alone. In legal terms, the trial court has a certain “discretion” to act. The law calls the amount of respect that a higher court must give the lower court’s decision “the standard of review.”

For the client

As quickly as possible upon taking a case for an appeal, I discuss with the client the standard of review that applies to it. I consider the chances on appeal in light of the trial court’s discretion. I do clients no favors by taking appeals that I think have no chance of success.

An appellate attorney must have familiarity with the law that goes beyond what appears to be in dispute. An appeal often requires drawing analogies and parallels. An appellate attorney must ask why the Legislature said what it said or why it changed a statute. The attorney must understand how the case fits within the law as a whole. The attorney must then discuss the appeal’s legal aspects with the client, who can then decide whether to proceed.

For the attorney

I have twenty-five years experience in legal research. Other attorneys call on me to help them with difficult or obscure areas of the law. In over 50 appeals in the past 15 years, I have either represented the clients directly or written the briefs. The appeals have arisen from cases involving real property, business, family, criminal, probate, personal-injury, and defamation law.

I am willing to work with you to the extent you need to give your client the best service possible. My goals are both honest assessment and zealous advocacy.

Writing a brief means making a sustained argument. On an appeal especially, a good lawyer needs good communication skills. Judges do not like to read bad writing any more than anyone else does.

I have spent my professional life developing a clear writing style. I have found that readable and articulate briefs help my clients much more than “writing like a lawyer” does.

If you are a party to a case, or if you are an attorney, and you are considering an appeal or facing one already, call me to see how I can help.

You will find a list of Appeals in which I have participated on the next page.

 

 

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