Trial and appellate advocacy are worlds apart. While trial courts are for original jurisdiction and involve examination of evidence, appellate practice relates to reviewing the judgment in the trial court and analyzing errors in interpretation of the law. In general, appellate courts do not decide on issues of fact. Here are a few reasons why you need an appeal lawyer for an effective appeal.
- Trial and Appellate Advocates Have Different Skills
A trial lawyer is good at gathering evidence, interviewing potential witnesses, forming pretrial and trial strategies, and cross-examining witnesses. They also excel in making a passionate plea to the jury, creating solid and convincing arguments, storytelling, and more.
Appellate lawyers have strong writing and research skills, and their logic skills help them analyze things and extract the necessary elements that could be used to build an effective brief. They need to possess the judgment and wisdom to evaluate what issues are likely to succeed in an appeal. The appellate lawyer’s logical and analytical skills can make the difference between winning or losing an appeal.
- Appellate Lawyers Offer a Fresh Perspective
Appeals are primarily decided on what is already presented at trial. Since the trial attorney handles the case initially, they develop a core theory to be communicated to the court. They choose one perspective while closing off other avenues, which sometimes creates tunnel vision.
But an appellate lawyer looks at the records with a fresh perspective. A different perspective allows for course correction, and in some instances, develops a core theory based on the actual record instead of the anticipated record. They can view the case more objectively than the trial lawyer.
- Appellate Lawyers Know What Matters Most to Appellate Judges
While trial and appellate judges share the same objective of delivering justice and applying the law correctly, they differ in how this is done. A trial case is focused on the facts of the case, but the appellate case starts by reading the brief and bench memos. In an appellate case, the lawyer has one or two briefs and an argument to make an impression.
To impress the appellate judge, appeal lawyers must make sure the correct standard of review is applied and effectively develop the law. Besides, they must not create a precedence that would disturb cases at the trial level. The argument must not open the floodgates to a litany of frivolous claims or confuse an issue of law in a way that could discourage parties from resolving disputes without litigation.
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Author Bio: The author writes about appellate practice and helps people choose the right appellate lawyers to represent their case.