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Appeals

If you think you have grounds for an appeal in a civil case, I will look at your case and tell you quickly whether I think it’s within my competence. I’m not an appellate specialist but I have strong research and writing skills and may be able to be of service to you in this area.

Appellate work calls for the technical precision of a Swiss watchmaker combined with the psychological savvy of a Hollywood script writer.

Appellate procedure is an intricate mechanism of technicalities. Time for filing, record submitted, standard of review, standing, personal and subject matter jurisdiction and other threshold issues present numerous opportunities for derailment of your case or your opponent’s.

If you survive the procedural preliminaries, you still have to have a story that grabs the heartstrings. Appellate judges themselves are probably never moved by emotional considerations, but they wish to be seen as being on the side of the angels — and they may not be your angels.

Here are some pointers if you think you have grounds for an appeal.

  • Appeals are always uphill work. The odds are in favor of whatever the trial court decided.
  • To win on appeal, you need to show at least one glaring error by the trial court. A series of minor mistakes isn’t enough.
  • Time is of the essence. The deadlines are somewhat complex. If you file late, you’re dead.
  • Appellate judges tend to be very, very smart. In your arguments, be up front and cut to the chase.

I’m attaching some sample briefs I’ve filed, for your review. [coming]

 

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