The ultimate resolution of a case often does not end with a rap of the trial court’s gavel: it comes years later in the form of an appellate opinion. While an appellate court can affirm a fair and proper verdict, it can also correct an unjust defeat or strip a litigant of a hard-won victory. The final outcome may hinge on a litigant’s use of the proper legal lever. Enter the appellate attorney.
Appellate litigation is a unique form of practice requiring talents and skills far different from those utilized at trial. The job of a trial lawyer is to prepare over many months for a live, tightly choreographed presentation to a judge or jury, who, if the trial lawyer is successful, will be persuaded to rule in the trial lawyer’s client’s favor.
The appeal process, by contrast, usually involves a pure analysis of the law decided ‘on the briefs’, that is, without the opportunity for oral argument. The facts of the case already have been decided. The emotional pleas to the judge or jury have been made. The scintillating closing argument has been given. All that remains is a written record of what occurred. A successful appellate attorney is a highly-skilled brief writer with the ability to distill the thousands of pages of trial transcripts and exhibits in to a single, highly persuasive document—often no longer than fifty pages—containing nothing but the core factual and legal reasons for the appellate court to rule in a client’s favor.
Litigants as well as trial lawyers rely on JDSA’s experienced appellate attorneys to advocate at the appellate level across a broad range of legal issues. We have more than fifty years of combined experience arguing appeals in state and federal courts. Our appellate lawyers provide a range of services relating to appeals and accompanying legal issues, including:
- Briefing and arguing appeals on the merits in both Washington State and Federal Courts of Appeal;
- Providing advice and assistance in briefing significant legal issues at the trial court level;
- Advising litigants and trial attorneys on appellate issues before, during, and after trial;
- Preparing emergency petitions and writs and other post-trial motions; and
- Preparing amicus curiae briefs.
Areas of Emphasis
- Civil Appeals to the Washington State Court of Appeals
- Civil Appeals to the Washington State Supreme Court
- Civil Appeals to the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Amicus Briefing
- Case Review & Analysis
- Trial Association