What IS "Appellate Strategy?"

What sets Sedgwick’s Appellate Group apart from the rest.

Most appellate lawyers are passive: they read the trial record (viewing it as etched in stone, immutable). They research the law. They write the brief. They may be good at that, but they use a static, one-dimensional approach to what should be a creative, strategic process: have a plan, adjust it when necessary. Look for new approaches, a new way to frame the issue, what will set your case apart. Appellate Strategists will look for creative, proactive ways to solve the problem.

Say an institutional client walks in with an adverse published opinion. It affects the client in all manner of other lawsuits. Most appellate lawyers will seek review in the State’s highest court, and perhaps file a certiorari petition in the U.S. Supreme Court. If turned down, they view the battle as over. But as the song says, that ain’t necessarily so.

Examples:

  • Playing for a tie: faced with an adverse opinion, find another case in a different venue of the same jurisdiction. Appeal and brief why the other court was wrong. If the second court agrees, you have a compelling reason to persuade the state’s highest court to break the tie. Appellate Strategist has done this many times, and won in the state’s highest court. (See, e.g., Brodie v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2007) 40 Cal. 4th 1313.) Victory can be snatched from the jaws of defeat. That is, if you know how.
  • Grooming the test case: there may be no law on the issue, but your client desperately needs it. Appellate Strategists help identify the best test cases to take up to the court of appeal to help make law on the subject, and brainstorm on what, where, when and how to do so.
  • Making law via the amicus brief: another way to turn the tide is by filing a friend of the court brief when the issue before one appellate court will affect your client, a non-party. This form of friendly persuasion allows the client to have a say, not only in the ultimate result, but how the rule articulated by the opinion is worded, often as or more important than the result in that particular case.
  • When faced with a big money judgment: Strategic appellate lawyers will file immediate post-trial motions, to eliminate or substantially reduce the judgment even before appeal. Appellate Strategist has won every such motion filed in the trial courts in the last 7 years, and that doesn’t count the even greater reductions on appeal. We have eliminated over $500 million in punitive awards for our clients in recent years.  
Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
http://www.appellatestrategist.com/admin/trackback/193094
Comments (0) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.







Remember personal info?