Appeals tend to be misunderstood. People often believe that appealing a case is an option when they are unhappy with the verdict, but this is not so. An appeal is used when there was a procedural error or something wrong with a trial, not because a defendant or plaintiff was unhappy with the outcome.
Appeals are focused on the process of trying a case and an appeal is used to assess whether the previous trial was just. This is why it is so important to work with an appellate attorney who understands the process of appeals.
What are three of the most important reasons to hire an appellate attorney?
- Appellate Attorneys Have a Different Skillset than Trial Attorneys
Just as it would be a mistake to hire a bankruptcy attorney to help you with your divorce or a divorce attorney to help you with estate planning, it would be a mistake to hire a trial attorney to help you with an appeal. Trial attorneys are skilled at litigation. Appellate attorneys, on the other hand, specialize in appeals. They might have the same qualities, but the skills needed to achieve a successful appeal are different than those needed to secure a positive outcome at trial.
The job of a trial attorney is to convince the judge or jury that his or her client’s story about the facts is correct. An appellate attorney’s job is to assess how the law was applied to those facts and review and analyze information for errors. He or she must prepare a brief that sets presents persuasive argument that is supported by case law. This requires extensive research, an understanding of legal distinctions, and a strong grasp of legal language and writing.
- Appellate Attorneys Offer a Fresh Perspective
It is no secret that trials and the legal process in general are time-consuming. It can take months or years for a case to come to trial and during that time, clients and attorneys tend to be fully enveloped in the details of the case.
Bring an appellate attorney on board brings in a fresh set of eyes. They offer a new perspective to the situation and a different point of view. They might see things that trial attorneys missed and be able to give provide an objective assessment of the situation. Many did not “live through” the case as those that were there every step of the way and as such, they are able to offer a different angle on things.
- Appellate Attorneys are Experts in Dealing with Appellate Courts
Appellate attorneys must understand the local rules of the appellate procedure. This includes filing specific requirements for the appeal. If any of these things are missed, it can be fatal to an appeal.
Appellate attorneys with experienceare familiar with the usually lengthy process of appeals and can walk you through the various steps of the process. They have knowledge about:
- Relevant standard of review on appeal
- Appellate law
- Specific appellate judges and how they are likely to rule