Handling a case on appeal requires an understanding of the unique rules that apply in appellate courts. In addition, success on appeal requires an understanding of the methods used by appellate judges to view and analyze cases, which are far different than the methods used by trial courts or juries. Our attorneys have substantial experience in analyzing, briefing and arguing appeals. We have handled appeals in courts around the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Circuit Courts, and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Among the services we offer relating to appeals are the following:
- Post-Trial Motions. The groundwork for the successful appeal often is laid in motions that are filed in the trial court following a jury verdict. If you have received an unfavorable result from a jury, you may be able to file a motion for judgment as a matter of law, a motion for a new trial, or other motions challenging substantive or procedural defects in the trial process. These motions must be crafted with an eye towards an eventual appeal, because post-trial motions often are the last chance to raise issues before the trial court, and appeals courts typically will not consider issues that were not raised in the trial court. If you received a favorable result from a jury, then you may be faced with defending against these types of motions. So, having an appellate attorney involved in the post-trial motions practice often can increase your later chances of success on appeal.
- Briefing And Argument Of Appeals. The heart of the appeals process is the drafting of the briefs that will be submitted to the appeals court, and then the oral argument to the court. The outcome of the great majority of appeals is determined by the quality of the briefs filed by the opposing sides. We pride ourselves on being among the best brief writers in the country. And when it comes time to present oral argument to the court, we will be meticulously prepared, and will aggressively defend the positions we have laid out in our briefs.
- Petitions For Certiorari. The U.S. Supreme Court relies on a process known as “certiorari” to determine which cases to consider. The Supreme Court receives thousands of petitions for certiorari each year, and typically grants only a very small percentage of them. The standards the Supreme Court applies to petitions for certiorari are far different from the standards applied by other courts in other circumstances. At the certiorari stage, the Supreme Court typically is not focused on the merits of the case. Rather, the Supreme Court looks to whether the case presents one or more issues that have wide-ranging importance, or on which the lower courts have reached divergent results. The crafting of a successful petition for certiorari requires an understanding of this unique process. We have that understanding, and are able to guide clients through the certiorari process.
- Amicus Briefs. Appeals courts often accept briefs from groups or entities other than the actual parties to the case. This type of brief is known as a brief amicus curiae, a Latin phrase for “friend of the court.” When a case presents issues that are important to segments of society beyond the actual parties to the case, other interested groups or entities may wish to file amicus briefs that bring new or unique perspectives on the issues to the court’s attention. We have substantial experience in representing amicus curiae and in the preparation of amicus brief.
For more information about our practice in this area, contact Jonathan Tycko.