Appeals Are A Different Legal Process Calling For Different Legal Skills
An appeal isn’t anything like a trial, or the repeat of a trial. No witnesses take the stand. No new evidence is presented. No new arguments are made. Instead, an appellate body reviews what happened in the original proceeding to determine if the original decision maker made a mistake.
The appellate lawyer presents the appeal to the appellate body through written briefs and oral argument. The appellant, or the party initiating the appeal, produces a brief explaining why the decision maker got it wrong. The appellee, or the party responding to the appeal, produces a brief explaining why the decision maker got it right. The appellant then gets to produce a reply brief responding to any new points made in the appellee’s brief. Once all of the briefs are submitted, the lawyers appear before the appellate body to emphasize or amplify their arguments and to answer any questions the appellate body might have.
Since an appeal is not a do-over of the original proceeding, an appellate lawyer needs a skill set different from a trial lawyer’s. Brief writing is paramount for the appellate lawyer because the appellate lawyer tells your story through briefs, not through live witnesses, or opening or closing statements, as a trial lawyer does. Foresight is essential for the appellate lawyer because appellate courts are influenced by how the decision might affect others in the future, not just with how the decision affects the parties before it, as a trial court is. Debate is key for the appellate lawyer because argument of an appeal is akin to a parliamentary discourse, not an uninterrupted dialogue, as in the trial court.
The Right Kind Of Experience
Whether you’re trying to overturn a judgment, or protect one, the highly accomplished appellate lawyers at Gregory and Adams, P.C., have the experience and skill set to frame powerful issues, craft compelling briefs and deliver persuasive oral arguments.
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